A FAMILY-of-five who are stuck in a tiny hotel room while waiting for a council house are struggling to cook food and do their laundry.
Stephen Jones, 42, and his four kids are sharing the little space made available to them for the next two weeks while hoping Chelsea and Kensington can find them a suitable home.
The dad-of-four, who has a personality disorder and mental health issues, had been staying at a hostel for people with complex needs but a court order in June meant his kids were coming to live with him throughout the summer.
Stephen says his two eldest children sleep in beds, his six-year-old sleeps with him on the double bed and his youngest sleeps on a blow up bed.
He said: “They’re starting to get restless now. At first it was like a little holiday, but now it’s getting to them.
“It’s boiling and we can’t go out, it’s too hot. So they’re trying to entertain themselves, and I’m telling them off because the hotel moans at us for noise.”
Due to the limited facilities available, Stephen says doing every day chores is near impossible.
Cutlery and plates have to be cleaned in the bathroom sink, making meal time a struggle.
As there’s no washing machines available to use, the concerned dad has made an agreement with his ex-wife to lug the family’s washing to her house and do it there.
He’s not looking forward to carrying their dirty clothes across the city on public transport in the humidity.
Stephen’s family were first moved into a hotel in Fulham but were moved on August 8.
He told MyLondon: “We couldn’t check in until three and had to check out of another one at 12. [Chelsea and Kensington council] wouldn’t pay the £10 surcharge and they wouldn’t let me pay that either [as his name wasn’t on the booking]. We had to wait in the foyer.
“The four-year-old just runs around. The 13-year-old is being assessed with autism and he can’t sit still for long and the noise gets him worried.”
The doting dad suffers from a personality disorder as well as mental health issues.
He has been struggling with the wait times he is facing to get answers from the council.
He said: “They don’t get back to me.. That’s what’s frustrating… if I send an email it gets frustrating.
“Ok they’re busy. I’m just sitting here all day watching my emails because it gets more and more frustrating.”
Stephen says it’s important he and the kids remain in the same borough as his support system is there.
He said: “Everything is in that borough, all my mental health is in that borough. I need to keep updating mental health people of address change in case of emergency.
“I’ve lived there since I was born. Everything is there. That’s where I’m familiar with.”
A Kensington and Chelsea Council spokesperson said: “This is a unique situation and the Council has responded swiftly to a sudden change in circumstances to find the family involved a safe place to live while we carry out a full assessment.
“Housing, particularly larger family-sized homes, is in very short supply across London and we feel that shortage keenly in Kensington and Chelsea, which is a small, densely packed and expensive borough.
“We are taking steps to improve the situation, including by building 600 new homes, at least half of which will be available at social rent, addressing cases of housing fraud and by tackling the number of empty properties.”
Council housing accommodates roughly 200,000 people who are struggling to stay afloat.
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