IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Mum-of-two who shares room with sister tells of three-year wait for home

No ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for woman who is struggling to bid for accommodation

23 March, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

Bottom bunk: Lindsey Nethercott with son Jack and daughter Abigail; Top bunk: Gemma with daughter Emily

A MOTHER who is living in bunk beds with her sister and children feels there is “no light at the end of the tunnel” in her three-year wait for a home.

Lindsey Nethercott moved back in with her mother in Pilgrim’s Way three years ago when she was evicted from a private property instead of going into council-funded temporary accommodation.

However, she said this has meant she is now struggling to get more “points”, used to bid on council homes, for herself and her two children, Abigail, eight, and Jack, three.

Ms Nethercott, 38, is sharing a cluttered bedroom, where there is barely room to stand, with her 29-year-old sister Gemma and her seven-year-old daughter Emily.

Speaking at her mother’s council home, she told the Tribune: “I thought I’d move back in here and within two or three years I would have my own place to move into. When I went down to the housing officer they said they wouldn’t be able to put me on her [mother’s] tenancy, because her house is overcrowded already.

“If I had known what I now know, I would’ve gone into temporary accommodation to build up more points.

“I just think moving into temporary accommodation would be defeating the object now, it would be taking a step backwards again.”

A points system exists for those on the housing list – which currently stands at 18,000 households – to try and gain a council property. If a resident has more than 120 points, they can bid.

Ms Nethercott, who has several generations of family who have lived in the borough, currently has points for having two children, but said her bid to add medical points as she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder was rejected.

She said she has only gained two points in three years, taking her up to 146 points. She has tried to get a viewing for an estimated 250 homes but has been left disappointed.

Private landlords are not as accepting of housing benefit in her experience, she said.

Ms Nethercott said: “It makes me feel low. It’s had an impact on my mental health. All I want is enough points to get one viewing of a property.

“You don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Councillor Diarmaid Ward, the council’s housing chief, said: “Islington, like most of London, is facing a housing crisis and demand for council housing in the borough massively exceeds supply.

“Because of the huge demand for council housing in Islington, thousands of people are badly in need of better housing and are waiting, often in uncomfortable, overcrowded housing.

“We are building hundreds more council homes, and we have called on the government to cut restrictions that stop us building hundreds more council homes.

“We will continue to work with this family to find a home that meets their needs, and we encourage Ms Nethercott to get in touch with us to discuss her options.”

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