Family of five on Universal Credit face eviction over unpaid rent

A family from Rotherham face being made homeless after being ordered to leave their home on Monday.

Parents Amy Winter and Joshua Thain, as well as their three children who live with them, are set to be evicted from the house on Brunswick Street, Thurnscoe over unpaid rent.

A judge ordered that the family must leave the house on January 31 following several months of missed rent payments but Amy and Joshua say Barnsley Council have been aware of the situation and haven’t helped.

Both Amy, 26, and 27-year-old Joshua are on Universal Credit and live with Sky, five, Daisy-Mae, four and 18-month-old Lexi. Amy is currently five months pregnant and the couple have a fourth child, nine-year-old Macauli, who lives with Amy’s mum.

Amy told the Huddersfield Examiner: “It’s that bad we don’t go out or anything because we’re worried. I’ve asked my family if they can help, they can’t help with accommodation because they’re only living in one bed and two bedroom houses.

“The only person who is trying to help is my partner’s uncle but he lives down in Somerset.

“I think Barnsley Council need to get off their backside and figure out what they’re going to do, instead of just telling us one thing and next thing a different thing.”

The property is owned by Sanctuary Housing and the tenancy agreement was in the name of Joshua’s late mother Victoria Robertshaw, who died aged 45 in August after testing positive for Covid-19.

Amy has accused Sanctuary Housing staff of being rude to her.

Amy said: “They [Sanctuary Housing] were being rude about it, saying they would just put us on the streets. We’re just waiting for them to break down the door now. Barnsley Council has said ‘just keep your doors locked’.”

Barnsley Council says it’s offered advice around different housing options but Amy claims that the options they have been offered would result in the family being split.

Amy said: “I ain’t separating my family up after everything that’s gone on with Josh losing his mum, I said ‘I ain’t separating my family just because you want me to’.”

A spokesperson for Sanctuary Housing said: “On Monday January 31, an Outright Possession Order for this property was granted by a judge at court which asks the occupants to vacate it within 7 days.

“The proceedings related to significant rent arrears that have built up with no rent being paid for several months, despite our attempts to resolve the issue before going to court.

“We have been liaising with Barnsley Council to ensure the occupants can access alternative accommodation as soon as possible, so this property can then be offered to a family who are currently waiting on Barnsley’s housing list.”

Barnsley Councilor Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for adults and communities, said: “Our housing team are continuing to work with the couple and are offering them advice around their housing options and support to consider alternative accommodation.

“As part of this process, we have made inquiries into their current and previous housing situation, helping us explore all avenues of accommodation with them.

“Our housing team are available to offer support and help whether you’re homeless or worried about becoming homeless, and they give you advice based on individual circumstances.

“We encourage anyone worried about their housing situation to get in touch with us as soon as possible to make us aware of your situation.”

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