A Welling mother has been left distraught after moving her family into a 'horrendous' houseshare - where her daughter is too scared to go to the toilet alone - in a bid to avoid being rehoused in Manchester by Bexley Council.

Rachael Sims, 32, husband Tony, 42, and their daughters Hayley, 17, and Chloe, 14, were forced to move out of their privately rented three-bedroom semi-detached home in Seaton Road on March 3 as the landlord wants to sell.

News Shopper reported in January that on finding out they were to be made homeless, the Sims family were told by Bexley Council that due to a shortage of temporary accommodation in the south east, they had been sending applicants to Manchester - some 230 miles away.

Rachel Sims with her daughter Hayley, 17, husband Tony and mum Claire

The family descended on Bexley Council offices again last week where they were told they had no choice but to move into two bedrooms in 10-bed shared accommodation in Longfield Street, Dartford, or face homelessness.

They are now split between two bedrooms in the accommodation and sharing a kitchen and bathrooms with the other residents.

Mrs Sims said: "We are living in two rooms in a 10-bed house.

"As far as I know we're the only people in there - the majority of tenants are men on their own - we haven't been introduced to them, it's unnerving not knowing who they are.

"My youngest is too scared to go to the toilet by herself."

 

Mrs Sims has had to take leave from her job as a school cover supervisor in order to be in the house when Chloe gets home from school.

The family, who all work full-time or are in full-time education, are now driving an hour a day to spend evenings and meal times at Mrs Sims' mum's house in Abbey Wood.

Rachael Sims

A council spokesman said: "For several weeks, prior to the eviction taking place, the Council’s Housing Support Service had been working with the family to find alternative private rented properties.

"Although a number of properties were identified, the family chose not to pursue this option.

"As we have explained to Mrs Sims, we cannot ‘reserve’ emergency accommodation in advance.

"Unfortunately when the Sims family presented as homeless the only availability was the shared accommodation in Dartford.

"It is not unusual for this property, or similar, to be used in order to meet our duty to homeless households.

"The alternative to using this accommodation would have been to place the family in a hotel, which is more expensive and would not be a good use of council tax payer's money."