Homeless Sheffield mum-of-five forced to sleep in car
A mum-of-five from Sheffield slept in a car with her family after failing to secure a council house for three months after moving back to the city.
Bobbie Corker, 30, and her partner lived in Buxton, Derbyshire, for six years before returning to her home city of Sheffield, only to find themselves unable to secure a roof over their heads from the council for three months due to owing £1,300 in historic rent arrears.
Desperate, Bobbie and her partner sought help from her partner's parents, who agreed to let them stay in their three-bedroom house for a few weeks.
But in total, nine people – four adults and five small children – plus three dogs were all living together under the same roof and conditions were cramped.
Bobbie and her family moved out of the house to sleep in a car to avoid causing further inconvenience to her partner's parents.
She said: “The council wouldn't give me accommodation because they said I got rent arrears when we weren't living in a property.
“I moved out of the council house in 2015 and I gave the keys in and moved to Buxton, but for some reason, I still had the tenancy in Sheffield until September 2016.”
Bobbie has started paying off the rent arrears in installments to enable her to apply for council housing again.
Last Friday, the council arranged for the family to move into a two-bedroom flat in Sheffield as emergency accommodation.
Bobbie, who was diagnosed with benign fibromatosis tumour last year and now suffers from restless legs syndrome, said life for her and her children has been difficult.
She said she decided to move back to Sheffield as some of her children - aged between 10 and three - were bullied at their school in Buxton, with one recovering from a fractured skull after an incident.
She said: “It's quite tough on the kids.”
She said she fears that not having permanent accommodation could impact her children's wellbeing.
“I don't know how this will affect the kids mentally,” Bobbie said.
“I am scared of them not being able to go to school and missing their education.”
Sheffield City Council, in response, told The Star its allocation policy states that an applicant’s position on the housing register may be affected if they have a housing related debt, such as rent arrears, which is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The council said it had worked with Bobbie and was supporting the family to find a suitable place to live.
It said there had been delays in finding emergency accommodation because the family has pets and not all properties are suitable.
Councillor Paul Wood, Executive Member for Housing, Roads and Waste Management, said: “Suitable accommodation has now been arranged, and this support will remain in place until further housing arrangements are agreed.
“We’ll keep working with the family while this is ongoing and will give as much advice and support as possible to help them settle in a long term home.”