A single mother of five from Pinchbeck , who is living in cramped conditions having been declared intentionally homeless, has put out a desperate plea for help.
Samantha Richer’s home in the village, which she shared with her ex-partner and their five children, was reposessed at the end of January after the breakdown of her relationship left their joint mortgage payments unpaid.
Samantha and her young family were then moved to tempory housing in Gosberton, but shortly after they arrived they recieved an eviction notice.
Samantha said: “We were only in our house in Gosberton for two weeks before I received my eviction notice. We were then forced to move in with my mother and older sister,who live in a small three-bedroom property.”
The house is now home to eight people and a two-year-old King Charles Spaniel, with Samantha’s eldest son sleeping in a cold outbuilding in which a bed barely fits between piles of boxes.
The other children are sleeping in a small box room, sharing beds made of mattresses piled up on the floor or a sofa in the living room with their mother.
Samantha said: “This is an extremely distressing and upsetting time for me and my children.
“I am a single, stay at home mum with five children to raise. This is an ordeal you want to protect your children from but I am unable to.”
She continued: “We’ve all been living out of boxes for over a month now. My baby daughter is mostly stuck in a travel cot as there is no space for her to play or move around. At night she suffers because she can’t sleep in the living room because it’s so noisy .”
Samantha’s sister, Tracey, expressed concern for the children: “It’s a nightmare when the kids try to do their homework. Their schooling is really begininning to suffer now.”
The five children in the family are all under the age of 15, with the youngest being a one year old baby.
The family is unable to move into private rented accomodation, as suggested by the local council, due to the lack of landlords in the area who will accept housing benefits.
Samantha is also unable to raise the funds for a deposit and the first month’s rent which is normally a requirement in order to move into private rented accomodation.
She said “I’m desperate to settle my children back into the community. My eldest son is in Year 10 at school and he needs to be able to concentrate on his upcoming GCSEs.
“I’m now in absolute despair as we have nowhere to go.
“I want to go back to work when my youngest is a little bit older but, first and foremost, I need to settle my children in a house.”
Samantha concluded: “This has gone on long enough now.
“Nerves are really starting to fray in this house and, worst of all, the extra strain of my family living with my mum is taking a toll on her health as she has osteoarthritis.
“I just want my children to have a proper home and for my mum and sister to get their space back.”
* South Holland District Council has confirmed living with family is not classed as being homeless, although the authority said each case is judged on its merits.
Samantha lost the temporay accomodation because it was regarded she had made herself intentionally homeless.
Lincolnshire County Council and the Citizens Advice Bureau have told her that there is nothing they can do, and that she will not be considered for the housing register due to her mortgage arrears.
A spokesperson for the Citizens Advice Bureau said: “You must not have lost your home because of something that you deliberately did or failed to do otherwise you could be considered intentionally homeless.
“Local authorities have a legal duty to give help and advice to most people who are homeless, but they do not have to provide accommodation for everyone. If you have a home somewhere else, where you could reasonably live, you will not be treated as homeless.”