Havering couple who slept in car for six months flee to Wales

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 September 2014

Paul and Rose in their car and home

Paul and Rose in their car and home


A homeless couple who spent six months sleeping in their car have given up hope of getting a home in Havering and fled to Wales.

Paul Mason spoke to the Recorder about living in a car

“We have been sleeping in the car for the past six months due to circumstances with our old landlord.

It’s been rough and it’s been scary. We have had nights of thunder storms where we were scared that the car might be struck.

We’ve given ourselves some decency by putting black bin bags on the windows. It’s a bit obvious so we have to keep moving place to place to keep the peace with residents.

We try to go places where we are safe and secure.

We need a microwave to cook food so we just eat sausage rolls or sandwiches and we’ve been living on fast food and going through bins.

It was liveable for a little while. It was the only place we had to live in and to be together basically. It was just like a Bonnie and Clyde story really. It’s been an experience I will never forget, let’s say that.”

Rose Sansom, 44, and Paul Mason, 34, made the 185-mile westbound journey on Friday as they think they have a higher prospect of getting a home there.

The couple, from Romford, first contacted the Recorder in February to complain about their ongoing homeless situation but the then housing chief, Cllr Lesley Kelly, said the council would find them a home “in the next couple of weeks”.

A council spokesman has now said that the pair did not contact the council again.

However Mr Mason said he was told someone would get back to them but “they never did”.

The couple, who both suffer from mental health issues, have been sleeping in their car for the past seven months in spots across Havering and Dagenham, including the car park in Raphael Park, Romford.

“It is cramped in the car and people are always looking at us,” Mr Mason said.

“It makes me feel I am just a tramp and getting a job at same time is impossible because I don’t have an address.”

Cllr Damian White, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for housing, said this week: “We hope to offer Ms Sansom and Mr Mason a privately rented property, managed by us, in the coming weeks and apologise for not contacting the couple sooner.

“Though we last heard from them in February, they 
remain on our waiting list, and I would urge them to get in touch 
immediately to get this situation cleared up as soon as possible.”

Since the Recorder contacted the council they have been 
offered a flat in Rainham but have had enough of dealing with 
Havering and had already made up their minds to leave.

Mr Mason said: “I told them to stick it.”

Homelessness has peaked in Havering and the council last week resorted to housing homeless families in a sheltered accommodation block after admitting hostels are full.

Read more:

Havering’s hidden homeless problem

Havering housing chief ‘wrong on homelessness’, says charity

Havering’s homelessness crisis: Young families ‘shoehorned’ into sheltered accommodation

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