‘Is this what I fought for my country for, to constantly be homeless? Residents face eviction from Sudbury flats
A war veteran trying to ‘rebuild his life’ is one of seven households to face eviction after a housing association decided to terminate its lease.
All residents in the seven flats in Queensbury House, above the Silk Worm pub in Sudbury, have been given 60 days’ notice to find a new home after the association pulled the plug on its lease citing a number of issues, including the suitability of the location and building. Residents have reacted angrily, claiming they are likely to be made homeless.
Ex-soldier Pete Shefford who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), said: “Is this what I fought for my country for, to constantly be homeless?”
The 39-year-old is currently at college as part of long-term plans to qualify as a counsellor to help others in his situation.
“I’ve been made homeless twice before, I’ve served my country, I suffer from PTSD and they don’t care,” he said.
“Last week they said they wanted to talk, I understand there’s been problems but talking would be coming up with a compromise. There’s been none of that, we’ve just been given our marching orders.”
Unhappy residents said finding available housing would take months, claiming 60 days’ notice was simply too short to find an alternative, effectively making them homeless.
A spokeswoman for Flagship Housing confirmed the notice had been given.
She said: “We are working closely with Babergh District Council and the six households to find them alternative accommodation.”
On Tuesday morning a manager from Flagship Homes visited Queensbury House for a prearranged meeting, but instead of discussing issues she handed the residents their notice.
Alana Little, 29, said she had requested more details on the planned meeting without success, saying she was given no indication they would be asked to leave.
Residents claimed Flagship staff had since told them that there had been plans to terminate the lease for the last two years but that they had been given no prior warning of this until Tuesday’s meeting.
Miss Little said: “Why not help us move beforehand if they knew this was coming?”
She said it had previously taken her and her fiancé Ben O’Connell eight months to find a home.
Mr O’Connell asked: “How are we going to get a place in 60 days? The whole process take longer than two months.
“If they want us to leave the place then fair enough but give us time. Six months to a year would have been fine but two months is impossible.”
All the residents will now have to register with Babergh District Council’s homeless officer before registering online to bid on homes in set bands.
But residents say this process can take several months and are worried about being forced to leave the town.
Mr Shefford said both he and Miss Little needed to be in Sudbury to continue their studies while Mr O’Connell, who does not drive, said he had to be within walking distance of his seriously ill father living in the town.
“We have to live in Sudbury but they are not taking that into consideration,” said Mr Shefford. “I’m trying to turn my life around. How am I supposed to do that if I’m homeless? It feels like they are saying we don’t actually care about you.”
Fellow resident Danielle Mackenzie agreed that they had been treated unfairly by Flagship Housing.
“When they came out I thought they were coming to discuss the issues but when they gave me my notice I was taken aback,” she said.
“I suffer with mental health problems and I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I think they should have given us more time.”