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Evicted dad sleeps in van at housing office in protest

Graciano Mantato Photo: MEN Syndication

A homeless father-of-five is sleeping in his van in a car park near the housing association which evicted him.

Graciano Mantato, 40, has been living in his Citroen delivery van for the past month.

He was thrown out of his home in Ordsall, Greater Manchester, by Salix Homes after falling into rent arrears.

Graciano even lived in a police car park for several weeks.

He now sleeps in a car park at a business estate, which includes Salix’s headquarters, off Eccles New Road.

Graciano has a full-time job as a delivery driver, but the van is his only shelter.

Salix chiefs say they engaged with Graciano when he got into debt and only launched eviction proceedings as a last resort.

Graciano said:

I work all day making my deliveries in the Liverpool area and then sleep in the van at night.

At first I parked up at a car park next to Longsight police station because I felt safe there.

But then a friend said maybe I should make a point to Salix as I believe they have treated me unfairly.

– Graciano Mantato

Graciano said his problems started when he and his wife split and she moved out of the family home with their children.

I still saw the children, but became depressed about the situation.

I neglected the house. It was very untidy.

– Graciano Mantato

He also fell into debt, ending up with rent arrears and court costs of £2,400.

Salix started legal action to recover the money owed.

Graciano added:

My sister lives in Germany and she sent money into my account to help clear the debt.

I went to court and said I could pay it. I then went to Salix and paid the money, but they evicted me anyway because of the state of the house.

I think they are being mean towards me. I work all day and then sleep in the van. I use a friend’s card to get into a gym for a shower.

– Graciano Mantato

Sue Sutton, executive director of operations at Salix Homes, said:

Salix Homes does not believe it is fair to comment on individual cases.

Eviction is always a last resort and we endeavour to support and engage with residents who accrue significant levels of arrears before seeking legal action.

As part of that support, we also offer customers a range of options to make arrangements to pay any outstanding arrears.

We would urge anyone who is struggling to pay their rent to contact us on 0800 218 2000.

– Salix Homes