Man homeless after losing battle to stay in rented home

A COUNCIL has been criticised for failing to prevent a man and his two dogs evicted from their home after 15 years from spending a night on the streets.

Robert Emery, 59, fought eviction from his Chatteris home for a year when the owners of his privately-rented bungalow wanted it for themselves but had to admit defeat when the bailiffs arrived on Monday.

Unable to stay at his sister’s home because of his dogs and 10 weeks short of a 60th birthday which would make him eligible for social housing, he spent Monday night sleeping rough.

Mr Emery, who is on disability benefits, has bid for houses in the region for a year but without success and said he feels let down by Fenland District Council and Roddons Housing Association.

“The council don’t seem to have done anything to help me,” he said.

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“All I want is place for me and my dogs. I used to look after my partner but she died a few years ago. I’ve had enough. I can’t keep doing this.”

This week, Fenland District Council found a home for Mr Emery and has offered to put up the deposit for him.

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But Chatteris councillor Florence Newell, who has supported Mr Emery’s cause from the start, said it should have never come to this.

“The council knew about this man in June - he’s not a short-term tenant, he’s been in that house for 15 years and he’s been a very good tenant,” she said.

“I have been fighting this case since June and he’s been on the housing list for as long but he hasn’t been classed as urgent enough - what’s more urgent than being homeless? I despair.

“I’ll give the council credit now because they’ve found him a property and agreed to put a deposit up but it shouldn’t have meant a 60-year-old man with two dogs sleeping on the streets. It’s disgraceful.”

A spokesman for the council said they worked with Mr Emery since last year: “Last week, Mr Emery told us he was going to stay with his sister for six weeks and we have worked very hard to try and find him some accommodation, including walking the streets of Chatteris with him, visiting the letting agents highlighting that Mr Emery is a model tenant.

“We will continue to assist Mr Emery throughout his current situation in any way we can.”

Mick Gipp, assistant director of access and customer care at Roddons said: “We are in regular contact with Mr Emery and have been working closely with Fenland District Council to help him find accommodation.

“With over 3,000 people currently on the Fenland housing register, we must ensure that we meet the housing needs of the area as effectively as possible.

“We will continue to help Mr Emery find accommodation, including considering whether he meets alternative criteria for sheltered housing, which is usually reserved for applicants over 60 years of age.”

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