Leeds family faces homelessness after waiting for council house for over two years

A Leeds family who has been on the council house waiting list for over two years say they are 'daunted' by the prospect of facing homelessness.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 1:48 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th October 2019, 12:34 pm
563 people or families bidded for just ONE house on King Alfred's Drive in Moortown, where the Barrie family are searching for council houses (Photo: Google)

UPDATE: Jemma and Alex say they have now been offered a house in a Wakefield postcode by Leeds Council as of Tuesday, October 8

Jemma and Alex Barrie have been on the council house register since May 5 2017 and say they have applied for a home at least once a week since then.

The couple has three children, aged six, five and eleven months, and Leeds Council has judged the family as Band A priority - the category with the most urgent need for housing.

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The family are living in temporary housing in Moortown provided by the Leeds Jewish Housing Association.

-> The 15 most bid on council houses revealed by Leeds Council figuresHowever, their contract ends on December 16 and the family say they could face homelessness if an application is not accepted before then.

Mrs Barrie said: "We have tried to get support from councillors and MPs, but none of them have been able to come up with a solution.

"We're stuck in limbo and with time ticking, it's quite daunting.

"Even the Jewish Housing Association were shocked by the fact we still haven't been housed."

Mrs Barrie cares for an elderly relative in Meanwood during the day, therefore has to live in North East Leeds.

Mr Barrie, who works delivering kitchens, also suffers from depression which has been worsened by the thought of facing homelessness.

These circumstances were acknowledged in the family's applications, but they still have not been successful.

Moortown is one of the most in-demand areas of Leeds for council housing, with 563 people or families bidding for just ONE house on King Alfred's Drive.

Mrs Barrie added: "I care for my husband's grandma during the day when her daughter is at work and she has just been diagnosed with heart failure.

"I have submitted a doctor's letter that specifies I need to be close to care for her.

"I've had meetings with housing managers who have just told me to keep bidding, which I do at least once every week, and I was told we would be housed in the second year.

"I've missed out on houses which have been let to people on a lower band than our family. I received no explanation for this, just that I didn't meet the criteria required.

"It's just excuse after excuse."

-> Desperate for a home: YEP readers tell their stories over council house waiting lists in LeedsBand A families require 'urgent re-housing' and the council has 'a legal duty to consider them for accommodation'.

Leeds Council is unable to comment on individual cases relating to housing.

A spokesperson said: "‘Leeds City Council allocates homes in accordance with legislation and government guidance.

"However, like most social housing landlords across the UK, the local demand for council houses currently outweighs available supply.

"We are unable to comment on individual cases relating to council housing waiting lists.

"However, Leeds City Council is committed to supporting people with a housing need and preventing homelessness.

"Our dedicated staff can provide advice and assistance to any customers currently on the waiting list, who may be experiencing difficulties."