'I feel let down': Family of four who lost everything in devastating house fire left in hostel for months

Hostel room

Stacey Mimms, 42 and Jon Mimms, 46, are sharing their one-bedroom hostel with their daughter Gemma, nine, and Stacey’s son Josh, 17. - Credit: Stacey Mimms

A Rainham family of four who lost everything in a house fire have now all been living in a small hostel space for almost two months. 

On January 30 this year, a fire engulfed the entire roof of a privately-rented home in Bulmer Walk owned by Stacey Mimms, 42, and Jon Mimms, 46.  

The couple lived there with their daughter Gemma, nine, and Stacey’s son Josh, who will turn 18 on April 24.  

Following the fire, Havering Council placed them in a hostel where they share one bedroom - in which the children sleep on a bunk bed - alongside a small bathroom and kitchen.  

Stacey, who works night shifts as a healthcare assistant, said the situation "isn't great". 

Hostel room

Gemma and Josh sleep on a bunk bed next to their parent's double bed in the cramped living space they share. - Credit: Stacey Mimms

Stacey said she is unable to sleep properly in the hostel, and is often tired as a result, and Josh is “pulling out his hair" trying to study in the cramped space.  

The room is next to a playground, which Stacey said makes it "noisy".

A Havering Council spokesperson said: “We understand that the family has been through a terrible ordeal losing their private home, and we’re glad to have been able to ensure they had a safe roof over their heads at this difficult time.”  

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It has been working with the family to find “alternate accommodation, including speaking with local landlords to source a three-bedroom private home that they can afford”. 

“In the meantime, they have now been accepted onto our housing register, and are on the waiting list to bid for a suitable council property,” they added.  

Small Kitchen

The small kitchen in their hostel room. - Credit: Stacey Mimms

Despite this, Stacey said: “I feel let down.  

“The people at the hostel have helped me by putting me on a list for a bigger room, but there are people, such as those with disabilities, who need a bigger room more than me.”  

Stacey urged the council to offer the family a property for a “reasonable price".

The council’s spokesperson added: “We will continue to explore alternate options for larger temporary accommodation that will better meet their needs, as well as helping to search for suitable homes in the private sector.”