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Video: Homeless grandmother and son sleep in car around Erith and Dartford
A HOMELESS grandmother-of-three claims she and her son are being forced to sleep in a car around Erith and Dartford.
Elizabeth Merrin, 61, and her 32-year-old son Roy have found themselves bedding down for the night in their Renault Megane Scenic after they were evicted from a house in West Street, Erith, on June 19.
The mother and son used to share a home there with Mrs Merrin’s daughter Emma but were turfed out by a private landlord leaving them with only a car to sleep in.
Emma Merrin now lives in temporary accommodation in Kenwyn Road, Dartford, with sons Bryndley, 12, and Roy, nine, leaving no room for her widowed mother and brother who will often park up nearby or in their old street in Erith.
The boot of the Megane is packed with belongings.
Mrs Merrin told News Shopper she gets about two to three hours of broken sleep a night crammed into the five-seater vehicle along with her son and many of their possessions.
The former cleaner at Wilkinson in Erith claims to suffer from type two diabetes, high blood pressure and a vitamin D deficiency leaving her on crutches, in "excruciating pain" and unable to work.
She said: "The whole thing is totally degrading.
"I am 61 years old and I have never claimed a penny in my life. My husband was in the army and I worked.
"This is the first time I have asked for help and I feel something should be given back to me for the amount of tax we have paid in over the years if nothing else.
Mother and son in the car they currently live in.
"There have been a couple of times where I have thought of taking a load of tablets and it will just go away but I have my son and my grandsons to live for."
Mrs Merrin says Bexley Council has so far refused to house her because she does not qualify as homeless and should not have been sharing the house in Erith with her daughter in the first place.
She and unemployed Roy say they are indebted to Miss Merrin and "amazing" former West Street neighbour Kathy Twigg and husband Dave for letting them wash and cook when they can.
Last week News Shopper reported on Sidcup family Norman Karawaiez, 61, his wife Carole and their children Lewis and Lamase who cram into their dad's minicab to catch a few hours sleep a night as Bexley Council won't house them.
Bexley Council response
A Bexley Council spokeswoman said: "Social housing is in short supply and the council must look at the evidence of each case very closely as things are not always as they seem.
"It is the council’s duty to ensure that it gets value for money for its taxpayers and that those with the most need are prioritised.
"We can confirm that Elizabeth Merrin made an application to the London Borough of Bexley as a homeless person on June 17 due to what she claimed was her imminent eviction from a private rented tenancy at a home in West Street, Erith. Elizabeth included her son Roy Merrin on the application.
"Records showed that Roy Merrin had been a joint tenant with mother and sister at the property until October 2010, when he had his name removed from the tenancy.
"Further enquiries with various departments of the council and the letting agents for the property, established that Elizabeth Merrin had moved out the property sometime prior to the eviction, leading us the believe that she had accommodation elsewhere.
"After undertaking enquiries into Elizabeth Merrin’s application, the council issued a decision dated June 18 informing her that we did not consider her to be homeless.
"Elizabeth Merrin has subsequently submitted a review asking the council to reconsider her case, and this is currently being dealt with.
"There is no duty on the council to provide emergency accommodation pending the outcome of a review."
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