Family cramped by altered rules
A family-of-four faces sleeping in the same bedroom together for five years after being removed from the housing register because their living conditions are not considered to be overcrowded enough.
Sarah Thomas and her partner Paul Galyer share a bed with their 15-month-old daughter Ruby as there is no room for a cot, and their five-year-old son Dylan also sleeps in their room in his own bed.
Miss Thomas, whose one-bedroom flat in Aragon Close, New Addington, is rented from Amicus Horizon, had been on the council’s housing register for five years.
However, she was removed from the list earlier this year, when the housing allocation policy changed to prioritise those overcrowded by two rooms.
She is a full-time mum while her partner works full time as a roofing yard foreman, but they cannot afford to rent privately.
The 26-year-old now faces sharing her room, measuring 2.7m by 3.5m, with her children for another five years, when they will meet the requirement because a child over the age of 10 cannot share with a sibling not of their sex.
Ruby’s health visitor is so concerned by the family’s living arrangements she has written to their housing officer asking for the family’s need to be reconsidered.
Miss Thomas said: “Children should be in their own bed from when they are born, but Ruby will not have her own bed until she is five.
"Once Dylan turns 10, they cannot be sharing, but that does not help me with a five-year-old girl in my bed.
“She is up four or five times a night and when we put her to bed one of us has to stay in there in case she falls out.
“I think I should be given exceptional circumstances because I cannot improve the way I live.”
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: “Miss Thomas is an Amicus Horizon tenant, and she can apply to her landlord to move homes.
“She could also apply to the council’s home swap scheme, to exchange homes with a tenant needing to downsize, or find a privately-rented home.”
A spokesman for Amicus Horizon said: “The majority of our homes in the borough are allocated to Croydon Council. The remaining homes are allocated through our internal letting (CBL) schemes.
“The CBL schemes give residents more choice about where they want to live. Applicants can bid for a property within the area they are registered. We offer support to any resident wishing to move.”
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