Woman in poor health fears sleeping rough

June Bayley  fears she may end up sleeping in her car in spite of having a respiratory condition.
Picture Mark Westley
June Bayley fears she may end up sleeping in her car in spite of having a respiratory condition. Picture Mark Westley

A woman with breathing difficulties fears she may have to sleep rough because she did not know she could claim housing benefits so got into rent arrears.

June Bayley, 57, says she was evicted from a caravan in Beck Row because of the arrears so she is now seen as having made herself homeless meaning she gets no help from Forest Heath District Council.

But she says she was behind with her rent because had housing benefit while on Jobseekers’ allowance. When she got a low paid nursing home job she says she was not told she could reapply for housing benefit.

Ms Bayley, who says she has medication for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression and anxiety, had to stop working after becoming ill but says she offered to pay back the rent.

“If I had known what the correct procedure was, I would have done it,” she said. “I’ve worked all my life and looked after my terminally ill son, Ben, who died when he was 12.”

She was given temporary accommodation in Brandon until Monday while her case was investigated, but when she visited the council offices that day she was told they had ‘no duty of care’ for her.

Ms Bayley said: “They’ve got letters from the doctor saying it’s imperative for my health not to be on the streets.”

A member of a Beck Row church offered her a bed this week and she has appealed against the council decision.

A council spokeswoman said: “We cannot comment on individual cases beyond saying we are continuing to work with this lady.

“Failing to pay rent without good cause will lead to the authority making an ‘intentionally homeless’ decision. Applicants have the right to request a review and the council will respond to such requests with 56 days.”