Homeless threat hell for family

A Milngavie family faces being thrown out onto the street after their housing allowance payments were reduced - they claim with no prior warning.

Susan McGregor (28) from Keystone Avenue and her partner, who have two sons aged eight and four years old, are not sure that they will be able to continue to afford living in their private rented accomodation because they now have a £50 shortfall in rent each month.

Susan, who has already been homeless for a year when she was 20 years old, is unable to work because she suffers from chronic migraines and suspected ME.

Her partner is a full time carer for his seriously ill father so he is also unable to work and receives carers allowance.

Her youngest son attends Milngavie Nursery and her eldest is at Craigdhu Primary School.

Susan said: “I am utterly appalled that we were given no notification that this was going to happen.

“We’ve been bringing up our two young children in this home for over three years now and we are very settled and happy here.

“I’m unwell and my partner is caring for his ill father - we certainly do not need this kind of extra stress!

“Our housing allowance was meant to be paid at the same rate which was set when we moved in - we did not expect it to fall.

“We signed a lease because we thought we could afford the rent and now we are not sure that we can afford to continue to live here anymore.

“The only other option is homelessness, which would be absolutely awful with two young children.

“I’ve been made homeless before through no fault of my own and it was a terrible experience which I really don’t want to go through again.

“I also lived in council housing in Lennoxtown for a while where I was targeted by bullies who threw glass bottles at my house, the council wouldn’t re-house me so that’s why I moved to private rented accommodation.

“It would be a lot more expensive for the council in the long run to pay for accommodation for us if we become homeless than just paying the little extra rent that we need to stay here.

“We’ve also been told that we can ask for discretionary payments but there is no guarrantee we will get them.

“I wanted to warn other people to check their housing allowance because this is happening to everyone across the board and I think it’s disgusting.”

Ian Black, director of finance & shared services at East Dunbartonshire Council, said: “In March all claimants were notified about their housing benefit entitlement, including any reductions, from April 2014.

“Local housing allowance rates for private tenants are set by The Rent Service Scotland and East Dunbartonshire Council has no discretion to use any other rates when assessing housing benefit entitlement. Those who have been affected have been offered assistance to meet the shortfall between their housing benefit and their rent charge via the discretionary housing payment fund.

“Any discretionary housing payment award due will be assessed once an application form is received by the council.

“Anyone who needs advice about affordable housing should contact the housing team on 0141 578 2133.”