12:10PM, Monday 31 December 2018
A mother-of-three from Cippenham has told how she is unable to find a place to live, after been declared intentionally homeless by Slough Borough Council having been unaware of changes to the benefits system.
April Hill has been living at her mother Fiona’s house since October, having been evicted earlier in the year.
The 23-year-old was declared intentionally homeless in September, having fallen into arrears due to not paying full rent for several months.
Miss Hill says this is due to the rolling out of the Government’s Universal Credit system, which includes a benefit cap, which limits the amount of benefit payments someone can receive.
She says she never received a letter to inform her of the changes and thought her full rent was still being paid to the landlord of her privately rented flat in Malvern Court, Hill Rise, Slough.
Miss Hill, who works as a home-to-home carer, says there was a sustained problem of post being stolen from her block of flats’ hallway and says she reported losing three parcels during her tenancy.
After being evicted, Miss Hill says she made efforts to try and repay the money she owed and claims she texted and called her landlord to try and arrange paying back in installments but was ignored.
Miss Hill was placed in temporary housing in West Drayton by Slough Borough Council (SBC) while her case was being reviewed.
She was referred to social services due to being in temporary housing with children and subsequently moved to her mother’s house.
“I just want to be out of here,” she said.
“They [the council] keep saying, there’s no properties in Slough they say they’ve got no social housing.”
She says she was encouraged to re-locate to Swindon but says all of her and her children’s social ties and family are in the Slough area.
She is currently sleeping in an airbed in her mother’s living room, is struggling to eat due to her stress and has been signed off work.
“It’s absolutely driving me mental,” she added.
SBC says it has since offered to pay the first month’s rent and deposit for any private flat Miss Hill finds.
However she says she still cannot secure a privately rented home without a guarantor because she is on benefits.
She says estate agents have told her her guarantor needs to be a homeowner who earns 36 times the property’s rental rate.
“My nan’s the only homeowner in the family and she doesn’t work so she cant serve as a guarantor.
“They’re [SBC] are still telling me to look, I’ve looked and looked and looked, there’s nothing. I’m still stuck here.”
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