'We just want to find our forever home': Romford family speak out about temporary housing

Family with boxes

The Romford family say they live out of boxes - Credit: Adam Smith,

A Romford family has called on the council to deal with the borough's “housing crisis” after being moved five times into temporary housing. 

Adam Smith, Gracie Taylor, their son Lewis, 16, and foster daughter are currently living in a two-bedroom flat, meaning one child sleeps in the living room. 

sofa bed

One child sleeps in the living room, and Adam says this is causing "aches and pains" - Credit: Adam Smith

 Adam, who is autistic, said the “uncertainty and insecurity” of their housing situation has badly affected the family’s mental health. 

He told this paper: “Trying to move with two weeks' notice is not something we found easy, both physically and psychologically. 

“I just think the council need to use a little more humanity and care. 


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“We are not asking for any special treatment and understand that there are many families in need of help, but this has been dragging on for many years and we are all suffering due to the lack of security in our lives.” 

However, a spokesperson for Havering Council said the demand for family-sized affordable housing is “very high”- it let 430 homes last year and has over 2,000 families on the housing register.

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The spokesperson added: “The council has a robust system in place to ensure families on the waiting list are put into bandings according to their housing circumstances and the time they have been on the list.  

“Unfortunately, this does mean that some families will have to wait longer for a permanent home. 

“This is the only way to ensure a fair system that looks after the most in need.” 

Adam explained that the family’s temporary accommodation is very close to where Lewis’ birth father took his own life in 2009, leaving the 16-year-old with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

“The insecurity of our situation exacerbates that,” Adam said. 

His wife Gracie suffers from chronic pain, is partially-sited, has anxiety and depression, and struggles to stand for long periods of time. 

He said the family had been bidding for a permanent home for the past six-and-a-half years, but remain 97th on the list. 

boy with boxes

16-year-old Lewis feels his mental and emotional health is suffering because of the uncertainty around his living conditions - Credit: Adam Smith

“We just want to find our forever home,” Adam added. 

Havering Council said it is developing several large-scale regeneration projects that will double the number of affordable homes in the borough. 

“We understand that Mr Smith and Miss Taylor are in a difficult situation and have been working with them to ensure they are in the correct priority banding to bid for council or housing association properties," the spokesperson said.

"However, our allocation policy is clear and we believe their application has been correctly assessed.” 

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