A mum and her twin boys face eviction from their hostel after turing down a council home over fears of the level of crime in the neighbourhood.
Bethan Blunt has rejected Vale of Glamorgan Council’s offer meaning she could be thrown out of the hostel she and her two sons are currently living in.
The 26-year-old, whose sons Brody and Blake are three years old, said she became homeless in February following the end of a “difficult relationship”, reports Wales Online.
She and her children moved from Sully into her mum’s house in Penarth but Bethan said this was not sustainable due to the size of the home. “I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor and the boys were on a sofa,” she added.
Bethan, Brody, and Blake moved in late March into the council’s Ty Iolo hostel in Ar Y Nant, Barry.
The council placed the family in its highest priority ‘gold-plus’ category on the waiting list for a two-bedroom home. But Bethan said she was rejected on 10 bids for council accommodation and only given one option – a home in Dunlin Court, Castleland, which she decided to turn down.
“It was just the area,” she said. “I’m not expecting a mansion. I would just like to be in a place which is not so drug-related and with less antisocial behaviour and violence.
“I have family friends who live round Barry and know the area and they’ve told me it’s not a very nice place to be raising two little ones. People say they can’t even leave their vans outside in that area without people nicking stuff.”
Bethan described the home as “very eerie and dark”, adding: “It looked like lots of work needed to be done. There were concrete floors in the bedrooms and living room. And there were piles of mail all over the floor so it looked like no-one wanted the property and the council couldn’t get anyone in there.”
The full-time mum wants to stay in Barry because her children have settled at the Red Robin playgroup in Dyfan Road but she said she is unlikely to be able to afford private rent in the town so she is relying on the council for support.
But she claimed when she turned down the Castleland property the council told her she would have to leave the hostel by June 13 and that she would be moved down to the lowest priority on the waiting list.
“I was very worried,” she said. “If I was evicted I would have to go back to my mum’s but it’s too crowded. We were supposed to be prioritised. It’s definitely stressful and my boys have already seen me in stages of depression because I suffer from mental health. I just want a place where I can be happy with my children.
“When I was living in Sully I couldn’t afford the childcare but now I’m in Barry we’re in the catchment area for Red Robin playgroup. In lockdown the boys hadn’t really been socialising with other children and it’s definitely helped them. I don’t want to move from area to area. I want to be settled in one place.”
A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: “Having been made homeless Ms Blunt accepted accommodation at Ty Iolo, the council’s family hostel in March. Ms Blunt is registered with Homes4U, the council’s choice-based lettings scheme, and regularly bids on properties which are allocated based on priority of needs and in accordance with the lettings policy.
“Ms Blunt recently chose to bid on a property which she was successful in securing before deciding she no longer wanted to live there. In these circumstances the best course of action, and the one advised by Shelter Cymru, would be to move into the property offered before submitting a review of its suitability should she deem that appropriate.
“Refusing the offer of a suitable property, one that would address her family’s homelessness, at this stage would result in her being asked to vacate the hostel. This is in line with the Housing (Wales) Act 2014. We have over 50 families currently in temporary accommodation with a further 60 being managed by the council’s housing solutions team.
“While we do all we can to offer accommodation in an applicant’s chosen area the acute shortage of rental accommodation in the Vale of Glamorgan means this is not always possible.”