A seven-year-old was back at school in tears after being homeless during the coronavirus pandemic.
Maia and her mother Emma Sweeney were left homeless after claiming “no rental agency would touch them with a barge pole”, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Emma, 43, said her daughter was upset after her teacher asked the class to draw their houses.
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Emma Sweeney from Wavertree has performed as a singer in nightclubs across the UK and Spain for years and has made recordings for major dance music labels such as Clubland under her stage name “Emma Diva”.
After moving to Spain in 2012, she worked as a singer in the Balearic Islands club scene when the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
This lost the performance of a whole season.
Emma told the Liverpool Echo: “We spent a year with no income, [my daughter and I] were evicted after seven months, although our landlord was very friendly and paid off the debts.
“My work as a music teacher also came to an abrupt halt because of Spain’s strict lockdown.
“We were literally stranded overseas with nothing.”
A stranger from Facebook offered the couple a room in a mansion over the winter, which they stayed in for five months, until a friend loaned them money to return to the UK in March of that year.
Emma said, “We had to leave all our furniture and car behind because of the additional taxes.”
Since then, they’ve been sleeping in Emma’s mother’s living room in Wavertree while trying to find a property to rent [her] with a barge pole. “
She said: “Since I am newly self-employed and receive universal credit and am entitled to housing benefit, no agent will touch me with a barge pole.
“I can pay the rent, I just can’t get around the strict conditions of the rental agencies.
“You want two years of British business accounts, which of course I don’t have.”
Emma applied for a meetinghouse in July this year but said “very little property is emerging in south Liverpool” adding, “If they do, we are nowhere near the top of the list”.
She said, “We have to stay local, now my daughter has arrived at school because the rest of her life has been so chaotic.”
Emma, who currently works as a music teacher after school and has founded a community choir, describes the living conditions: “The living room is designed to be open and the front door opens directly into the room, so there is no privacy whatsoever.
“No place for my daughter to play with her toys and certainly no place for school friends.”
Describing the impact the situation had on her daughter Maia, she said, “She is seven and it touches her emotionally – she has cried tears in school for the last semester and has never been like this.
“She has nowhere to play with – didn’t even open her birthday presents in May because she has nowhere to play with.
“She cried at school when she was asked to draw a picture of her home because she ‘doesn’t have one’.
“Her cats that we got during the lockdown for her birthday are with my brother and she misses them terribly.”
A Liverpool city council spokesman told The ECHO that the city council “was aware of this case and is working with Emma to find suitable accommodation”.
The spokesman said, “We appreciate the urgency of this family’s circumstances and support them in finding suitable accommodation.
“If people find themselves in a similar situation or face any form of homelessness, they should contact or visit us on 0151 233 3800 www.liverpool.gov.uk. ”
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