Town Hall cleaner feels 'failed' as he remains homeless for third month
- Credit: Ken Mears/Simon Morey
A cleaner who works at Havering Town Hall has said he feels “failed” by the system after he became homeless and was forced to start sofa surfing.
Father-of-two Simon Morey became part of the hidden homeless three months ago after he lost his home in a divorce and has had to stay on his friends' sofas.
A Havering Council spokesperson confirmed Simon reached out for help in February, and the local authority assessed him the same day.
They said: “Demand for our housing is incredibly high, therefore we advised Mr Morey that he should look for alternative private accommodation and that the council would provide financial support to help him secure a private property subject to suitability and affordability.”
According to government statistics, most people sleeping rough in England are men from the UK and aged over 26.
Simon, 44, said: “I was told to look for my own place which I have done and on two occasions they have failed me.
“All I'm looking for is a room in a house."
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The council’s spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, the private property we originally tried to secure for Mr Morey is unavailable due to an issue with the current tenant, so we have had to resume our search at this time.”
They confirmed the council will keep speaking to estate agents and advised Simon to continue his search independently.
Government data from 2020 shows that in 2018-2019, there were 541,000 households in the last year which had someone living there who would otherwise be homeless.
Simon says the current housing system “isn’t working”.
“At the minute I've got nowhere for my children to come and see me.”
He said he feels frustrated at contacting private landlords who want someone to move in “straight away”, when he needs to wait for the council to pay.
“Covid has taken a toll on a lot of people’s relationships and it seems the hidden homeless are being pushed under the rug," Simon added.
“It feels like they [the council] don’t care."
The council’s spokesperson said: “Searching for properties in the private rented sector can be a ‘lengthy process’, and requires dedicating time to find suitable and affordable properties."
It will continue to work with Simon to secure him accommodation, they said.