Homeless Waltham mum given four days to rehouse family – in Telford!

A Waltham Forest mum who lost her job and became homeless during the pandemic has spent weeks sleeping on the floor after the council tried to house her 150 miles away.

After losing her job in July due to the pandemic, Jana Novakova said she was unable to find a private landlord who would accept rent in Universal Credit.

She said she asked Waltham Forest Council to provide a list of landlords and they eventually responded by offering her a home in Telford, telling her she must move in four days.

She and her children, aged eight and 10, are currently sleeping on a mattress on a friend’s floor, where they have been since becoming homeless on October 30.

Jana, 42, said: “I didn’t want to go to the council for help, but I had no other choice. I never thought in my entire life I would find myself in this position.

“I was not asking them for a property, I was not asking for anything to be given to me. I was just asking them to help us.

“Uprooting us to Telford doesn’t make sense. We have been local for 14 years, my kids were both born at Whipps Cross and I have got a better chance to find a job here than in Telford.”

Jana has now received a new job but will not start until January next year and has no savings after spending six years as a single mother.

She said that, after she refused to move to Telford in Shropshire, the council agreed to review her case but that this new decision is not due until Christmas Eve.

She added: “I have got nowhere to go and I just feel this is ridiculous. If it wasn’t for my friend, we would have had to sleep in my car.

“I’m articulate and able to go back and forth emailing them but what if you don’t have those skills, are they just leaving women on the street?

“A lot of people have been made redundant because of Covid, I just do not want this to happen to anybody else.”

Waltham Forest Council was contacted on November 4 for comment but it failed to respond.

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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter