Mum who lost home in blaze days before giving birth now living in hostel

PUBLISHED: 17:10 23 December 2015 | UPDATED: 19:03 23 December 2015

Nicole Brewster

Nicole Brewster


A mum who lost her home in a fire while in hospital waiting to give birth has been living in a hostel with her baby since September.

A man and his dog reportedly escaped from the fire in South HornchurchA man and his dog reportedly escaped from the fire in South Hornchurch

Nicole Brewster, 29, was told she could not return to her flat in Rainham Road, South Hornchurch, because water damage from a blaze in the flat above had made it uninhabitable.

The fire on July 28 came just four days before Connie was born, joining Nicole and sister Aliyah, three.

Initially they stayed with family, but since September they have been in a single room in Havering Council’s Abercrombie House hostel, Bridgwater Road, Harold Hill.

Nicole is one of many listed as a priority on Havering’s housing list, but is having no luck in her bids.

Aliyah with her baby sister ConnieAliyah with her baby sister Connie

“I’m in a room with a little bathroom and sleep in the bed with Aliyah,” said Nicole. “And I had lived in the flat for three years, I was sorted there, really.

“I’ve worked all my life, I’ve done nothing wrong. But I can’t change what happened.”

Nicole, who is on maternity leave from her job at Betfred in Rainham, also lost out financially after the fire, as many of her belongings were destroyed – including items bought for Connie’s arrival.

The family will have some respite over Christmas when they stay with relatives in Northampton, but Nicole fears it could be a while before she finally gets the home she so desperately needs.

“I think I’ll be here for a few more months at least,” she said.

“The other people are really nice but I have to go to Rainham a lot, to take Aliyah to nursery and go to the doctors. It’s quite far to go and I can’t afford to rent privately now I’m on maternity leave.”

Cllr Damian White, Havering’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said it was a very unfortunate situation.

He said: “We have the greatest sympathy for both Ms Brewster and her family.

“Housing need is determined by assessing the current housing circumstances of a resident. We are currently looking for suitable longer-term accommodation for Ms Brewster which may take some time, as there are currently several families waiting for a two-bedroom property.”

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