Cornwall family with five children lived in caravan parks after 'no fault' eviction

Darren and his family were evicted in June. Credit: ITV News

A family in Cornwall have described how they have lived in caravan parks and relied on food banks after being evicted from their home.

Darren Knowles, his five children and his partner Kerry were forced to leave their home after being served with a 'no fault eviction'.

The family moved between holiday parks until finding somewhere permanent just before Christmas.

Darren says the housing situation in Cornwall is 'dire'. Credit: ITV News

Darren said: "It's been a hard journey. I continued working, continued getting all the kids to school, so things were stable for them. It was just the home situation that was a bit of a nightmare.

"We phoned the council to see if they would put us in emergency accommodation. They offered us a place at the far end of Exeter, so I would have lost my job, the kids would have lost their school, their friends, their network.

"I can't believe how bad the homeless situation in Cornwall has got, it's dire at the moment."

Darren and his family were helped by the charity DISC Newquay, which has now re-opened its food bank and delivery service after Christmas.

Monique Collins says Cornwall 'has not been levelled up'. Credit: ITV News

Manager Monique Collins said: "The majority of people we are now seeing are working families, that's what worries me the most.

"They are actually trying to better themselves and they are not getting anywhere."

A recent report estimated that there are more than 28,000 children living in poverty in Cornwall - around 30 per cent of all the county's young people aged under 15.

Earlier this month the government signed a devolution deal, promising investment worth £630 per head over 30 years.

A Cornwall Council spokesman said: 'We sympathise with the position that some residents are finding themselves in as Cornwall continues to face extreme pressure on housing availability.

"We are committed to providing support for any resident faced with homelessness.

"There is a high demand for accommodation, especially if a household has very specific location requirements, including our own housing stock, properties that we rent, and other accommodation.   

"On occasion we are having to place households seeking emergency accommodation outside of Cornwall temporarily. When we do this, it is always the closest placement we can find and we then seek to move them back into Cornwall as quickly as we can.

"In this instance before we had made a temporary accommodation offer to Mr Knowles he informed us that DISC Newquay had helped him secure interim accommodation.

"We continue to offer support to all those living in emergency accommodation to help them find long-term homes.

"We are taking action to address Cornwall’s housing crisis from increasing the availability of emergency accommodation to increasing the delivery of new council housing for social rent and shared ownership."