Pregnant mum says she's been forced to live in a tent for the past month after struggling to pay rent
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A pregnant mum-of-two has described having to live in a tent with her family for a month because she couldn't afford to pay her rent.
Her sick pay was around a quarter of her normal wage, and though the mum managed to keep up payments on her home and bills the first time she caught the virus, the second time she 'couldn't keep up'.
Sasha, 31, told BBC Look North the family initially became homeless in November, and together with her two children, aged seven and 10, Sasha was placed in a Skegness hotel 20 miles away from where she worked.
The mum said the family was later moved to a multiple occupancy hostel for six months, but she claimed the site wasn't safe for the children, one of whom has special needs.
Sasha, who says she is now nine weeks pregnant, explained that the family then decided to stay in a tent pitched in the garden of a family friend, where they were visited by social services.
During the visit, Sasha claimed the social worker told her the set up was 'lovely'.
The mum was allegedly told her situation did not 'meet the criteria for help', in part because they had access to running water and other facilities.
However, on Saturday (18 June), the family's circumstances changed, and they had to leave the garden and pitch their tent in an area of woodland.
"It's chaos," Sasha told BBC Look North from the clearing, adding: "[We're] a wreck. It's unliveable.
"Routine's gone out the window, especially now... when it's ten o'clock at night, it's still daylight outside, my children won't sleep until it's pitch black."
The family's new location meant social services got back in touch with Sasha to tell her that her children had to stay with relatives, but the mum has claimed there were safeguarding issues around the placements which had been ignored.
“I believe I am entitled to support and housing 100%,” she said. “My kids are entitled to it.”
Boston Borough Council has said the mum had 'the means to pay the rent and made the decision not to'.
A spokesperson for the council told Tyla: “As a result of this, the Council provided temporary accommodation to Miss Osborn and her family until late May, which was considered reasonable based on her circumstances, to give her time to find somewhere to live.”
"Over 1,000 households either directly contacted the Council’s Homelessness Service or were referred to the Council during 2022-23 because they required advice or assistance.
"Where possible, the Council prioritises preventing people from becoming homeless which can include reducing rent arrears, assistance to obtain private rented accommodation or social housing but if unable to prevent homelessness, temporary accommodation will be provided if entitled.”
Tara Jones, assistant director for children’s safeguarding at Lincolnshire County Council, commented: “We want all local children to be safe, so, even though we aren’t the housing authority, we’re working hard to support the family through this difficult situation.
"This is a complex case and we’re exploring all options to help get the family into suitable housing.”