Cornwall: Young couple being evicted because they had a baby now face homelessness

Keda with her new baby. Credit: BPM Media / Cornwall Live

A young couple facing eviction because they had a baby fear they will be made homeless due to a lack of affordable accommodation in Cornwall.

Keda Upton and her partner have lived in a shared house in Falmouth since last August but were handed an eviction notice in June this year when they had their baby boy.

Keda explained that the property is not advertised for families so their landlord wants to evict them to rent their room to a single person.

With two weeks left until their eviction notice ends, and nowhere else to go while Cornwall is in the middle of a housing crisis, the young family now fears being made homeless before the Christmas period.

The 20-year-old said: "We currently have nowhere to go as we can’t live with family due to their own housing situations which would lead to overcrowding and our friends can’t have us either but they help us when they can."

Keda also explained that Cornwall Council said it could not guarantee it will find the family somewhere to live - which it is not obliged to do at this stage - and that they could end up in temporary accommodation, which Keda is unable to afford.

She said: "They currently won’t do anything until we are in 56 days of relief which is only until our eviction date. They are constantly forcing us to go private and look elsewhere when it’s completely not an option for us.

"We can’t even get full homeless duty until our eviction and even then they could end up putting us into a hotel that will cost more than we can afford.

"We are with WILD for young parents [charity] but there’s not much they can do really as the council just tell them what they have told me, that they are doing their best and can’t guarantee us a home even though we have been on the Homechoice list since around November/December last year (2020)."

Keda also said that the eviction has had a "huge impact" on her mental health and has made her home life uncomfortable.

She added: "It’s completely turned my life upside down, my mental health has taken a huge impact due to this. I've seen so many I know go through this and I've also seen those who have more options than us being helped more which is really frustrating.

"I hate coming home to where I am now as being issued with an eviction notice a week before I gave birth which has made it really uncomfortable in this house with the other tenants. My partner is also really worried about us as he works full time and tries everything to help us but he feels like we have been massively let down by the system."

As house prices around Cornwall continue to rise, Keda says that it is almost impossible for a young family on a low income to be able to afford to rent privately.

"It’s completely out of our price range," she said. "They are asking for four weeks upfront on an £750 to £800 property and that’s not even a deposit and bills. We can’t even afford £500 and then bills right now as I’m on maternity leave till June next year (2022).

"I have lived here since I was 10 and have family in Penryn and my partner has lived here all his life. The current housing crisis has impacted us massively, too many houses are empty with nobody in them, people want to downsize but don’t have one-beds to go down to, to open up a two or three-bed for a family and it’s just a domino effect."

She added that the amount of second homes in the county has also made it more difficult for them to find somewhere to live and that she wishes there was more help available to families in a similar situation to them.

"If we could go private we would but we can’t so we turned to the council for support but have had nothing but issues. I understand fully they can only do so much but what’s the point of being on homeless prevention if they aren’t going to prevent us being homeless?

"I really don’t want to disrespect the council, I understand they are under immense stress and pressure and it’s not all their fault as the Government haven’t given them enough to work with but this is happening to far too many families on the breadline and I wouldn’t have turned to them if all these second homes and extreme house prices were a thing."