Devon mum sharing room with son, 12, as family 'lives out of suitcases'

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A mum-of-three is having to share a room with her 12-year-old son as her family live "on top of each other" in a flat allocated by the council.

Lisa and her children were placed in a Newton Abbot hostel nine months ago after her marriage ended - and are classed as homeless by Teignbridge District Council.

She shares a bed with her son, while her two girls, aged 10 and 13, share a room.

Lisa is paying more than £400 a week for the flat through housing benefit. She says despite being classified by the council as 'homeless', she can't see a way out of her accommodation.

This is because, Lisa says, her family is classed as being in Band D, meaning they have a 'low housing need'.

She said: "I fit all the categories of being homeless yet I am classed as a Band D on Devon Home Choice that means I'm highly unlikely to be given any social housing.

"I think I'm going to be there forever and that's not a very nice thought.

She continued: "We don't have any furniture. We live out of suitcases."

Council statement

Teignbridge District Council says it cannot comment on individual cases, but a spokesman said: "We do our best to match the needs of families in terms of suitability and location and always ensure that accommodation meets the statutory legal requirements.

"Albany House provides temporary, lockable, furnished accommodation for families while we try to find suitable longer term housing for them.

"There are 1100 people currently on the Housing register in Teignbridge and we assist around 1000 households per year who are homeless or threatened with homelessness."

The council also says it is currently consulting on a five-year strategy focusing on prevention, intervention and recovery and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

New research from Shelter shows the estimated scale of the problem in the region.

7,961 people are thought to be homeless, of which 7,330 are in temporary housing and 354 sleeping on the streets on a given night.

Alice Klein from Shelter

Alice Klein from the charity said: "It's really worrying as these figures are likely to be higher.

"Also it's going to keep going up - lots of the protections that were put in place during the pandemic - such as the Everyone In scheme which took rough sleepers in off the street and also the eviction ban which prevented families from being homeless have now been relaxed.

"If you combine that with the cost of living prices, it means people are really feeling the pinch now and at more risk of losing their homes."