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Family of eight claim they are forced to live in a TENT


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A family of eight – including a three-year-old girl – say they have been forced to sleep in a tent after being made homeless due to the parents’ ill health. 

Joanne Foster, 33, and husband Daniel, 32, claimed they fell into rent arrears after both becoming ill within months of each other, and had to move into a tent in Daniel’s mother’s back garden in Ramsgate, Kent on August 9.    

The family revealed that Mr Foster was diagnosed with arthritis in his chest and had to give up his job as a French polisher – having worked for celebrities including George Michael – due to the pain, and Mrs Foster left her part-time barmaid job because of arthritis in her leg.

Now as winter approaches the couple worry that their children will suffer the most if they continue living out of the tent – which is set up beneath an open wooden porch.

Daniel and Joanne Foster, pictured with children Lexi, 10, Logan, eight, and Frankie, four

Now as winter approaches the couple worry that their children will suffer the most if they continue living out of the tent - which is set up beneath an open wooden porch

Now as winter approaches the couple worry that their children will suffer the most if they continue living out of the tent – which is set up beneath an open wooden porch

Mrs Foster told KentOnline she can hear the children’s ‘sniffles’ when they wake up in the ‘absolutely freezing’ mornings.

She said: ‘We don’t know how cold it’s going to get. Pneumonia…it can kill a child.’

Mrs Foster’s mother-in-law’s three-bedroom property is already at capacity – with no room for the family to sleep.  

The family had applied for homeless relief duty when they could not make up rent arrears following their departure from work – while still looking after six children.   

The family revealed that Mr Foster was diagnosed with arthritis in his chest and had to give up his job as a French polisher due to the pain

Mrs Foster said she left her part-time barmaid job because of arthritis in her leg

The family revealed that Mr Foster (left) was diagnosed with arthritis in his chest and had to give up his job as a French polisher due to the pain, and Mrs Foster (right) left her part-time barmaid job because of arthritis in her leg

Mrs Foster said both she and her husband had worked until they were both struck by illness and poor mental health

Mrs Foster said both she and her husband had worked until they were both struck by illness and poor mental health

When they went for help from Thanet District Council in March this year, the council reportedly deemed the family intentionally homeless.

Mrs Foster said both she and her husband had worked until they were both struck by illness and poor mental health.

She said: ‘For both of us to get the same particular thing is kind of weird.

‘The pain is just the worst really. I’d love to be out there working, I really would.’

Mrs Foster said she would happily accept a two-bedroom house or even a one-bedroom to put a roof over the children’s heads. 

Karen Constantine – a councillor with Thanet District Council, and a Kent county councillor for Ramsgate, said that local authorities have failed to provide adequate support for the family, and although the housing team are ‘working hard, with rising need’, she said the Foster family seem to have been let down. 

When they went for help from Thanet District Council in March this year, the council reportedly deemed the family intentionally homeless

When they went for help from Thanet District Council in March this year, the council reportedly deemed the family intentionally homeless

Karen Constantine - a councillor with Thanet District Council - said authorities must act to house the suffering children 'as an emergency' (pictured: Inside the tent)

Karen Constantine – a councillor with Thanet District Council – said authorities must act to house the suffering children ‘as an emergency’ (pictured: Inside the tent)

She said that Thanet District Council must act to house the suffering children ‘as an emergency’. 

At first the youngsters enjoyed the warm summer weather when they moved into the tent, but when three-year-old Marnie asked ‘can we go home now?’, it was a ‘kick to the stomach’ for Mrs Foster, she said.

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said that regardless of the specifics of a case, there should be a general principle that it cannot be right that children are living in a garden tent as their home – and they need ‘stable, safe and permanent’ homes. 

A Thanet District Council spokesman said they cannot comment on individual cases, but where a family is intentionally homeless from their last settled address they are allowed a ‘reasonable’ amount of time in temporary accommodation to find another home with the help of the housing team.

Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England, said that regardless of the specifics of a case, there should be a general principle that it cannot be right that children are living in a garden tent as their home - and they need 'stable, safe and permanent' homes

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, said that regardless of the specifics of a case, there should be a general principle that it cannot be right that children are living in a garden tent as their home – and they need ‘stable, safe and permanent’ homes

The Government’s statutory homelessness statistics reveal that from January to March 2019, 70,430 households were initially assessed as threatened with homelessness or homeless. 

This represents a 10.7% increase from 63,620 households in the previous quarter.

In the same period, 7,570 households were accepted as owed a main homelessness duty – a decrease of 1.4% from 7,680 during October to December. 

An MHCLG spokesperson said:

‘Everyone should have somewhere safe to live.

‘Since the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act in April 2018, local authorities have a duty to help all eligible households, including those who may be considered intentionally homeless.

‘Housing authorities should also refer intentionally homeless families to children services.

‘We’re supporting them to reduce the numbers in temporary accommodation by giving £1.2bn to tackle all types of homelessness.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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