Family-of-seven left homeless just days before children go back to school

Five children have been left homeless just days before they are due to go back to school.

Nadia, 14, Sonia, 13, Joseph, 12, Sofia, 9, and five-year-old Orlando are having to share one room with their parents, Ashkan and Sandra, in the home of a family friend.

The difficulty started when the Khamisi family got into complications with their housing benefit, and when noise complaints about Nadia’s piano-playing led to regular visits from the police and council.

With their landlord not willing to wait for rent, they were left homeless.

Ashkan, 36, said: ‘It was not a good place for us, we had the police on our doorstep almost every day because the neighbour was reporting us to try and get rid of us, saying our kids were at risk and we were making too much noise.

‘My daughter plays the piano and she has a small keyboard and practised on the lowest volume possible and we still had someone come to the door saying we were being too loud.’

He added: ‘I think the neighbour was just fed up of families constantly coming and going. I understand, I would be fed up too, but we weren’t being loud and we were looking after our children.’

In February, they were moved into a local authority house in Taylor Street, Cleethorpes, in north-east Lincolnshire.

Unable to search for a new place due to lockdown measures, the family were offered an alternative home by the local council.

But due to a ‘breakdown in communication’ they were deemed to have turned it down, and told they would no longer receive help with accommodation after a week in a B&B.

Ashkan said: ‘The council arrived at our house one day and said that our time in the house was up and we had to leave. A lot of our things are still there. They said that we had turned down a house when that isn’t the case, we were a bit hesitant because of the area.’

He claims Sandra tried to go and view the property, but no one turned up to let her in, and it led to an eviction notice.

Most of the family’s belongings are still in the Taylor Street house, including the children’s school supplies and uniforms, meaning Ashkan and Sandra have had to replace everything on their limited budget by September 3, when schools reopen.

Moreover, the couple were also told that if they could not find suitable housing, the children would be taken away from them. But, thankfully, a family friend was able to step in and give them a room while they plan their next steps.

Ashkan says the family are now hoping to move to another property in Cleethorpes.

Ashkan, a former chef, was left injured after a car crash two years ago and is now unable to work.

He said it made him ‘very depressed’ but he admits he could have handled the situation with the council better.

He said: ‘I think the council officers think I’m loud and rude to them because of everything that happened. I got very frustrated through it all, and I did not handle the stress very well.

‘All I was doing was trying to look after my family. I have been a hard worker and a taxpayer all of my life, and I feel like we have been failed.

‘If I could work I would,’ he added.

A council spokesperson said: ‘We not only have a duty but really want to help people who find themselves homeless and will offer what support we can, however, if this help is not accepted there is little else we can do.’

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