Breckland family’s housing misery as shortages take toll

PUBLISHED: 15:32 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:32 04 September 2014

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant © 2013

A young family whose lives have been hit by health issues have been made legally homeless after their hunt for a new home failed because of a district council housing shortage.

Nicholas Day, 25, Laura Skillings, 22, and 19-month-old Sebastian Day, were told on June 5 by their private landlord that they would have to leave their home in Elm Road today.

The news came months after Ms Skillings was given the all-clear from a rare form of bone cancer that saw her undergo operations in February and put her out of work.

The couple have also been coping with the news that Sebastian has a hole in the heart and must have treatment in London.

Turning to Breckland Council for help in June, the family was immediately placed on the gold list – the highest priority for non-emergency cases.

Since then only four properties have become available to bid on in 11 weeks. Of those, only two were suitable for the family and their bids for those were unsuccessful.

Mr Day, who works at Century Logistics in Thetford, said Breckland had done all they could, but that the lack of housing had made it an “impossible situation”.

“It’s not that they aren’t being helpful, but it’s that they don’t have what they need to help.

“When all you want to do is look after your family and you have no means to do that, and you look at the system that is put in place to help people and it’s not working, it’s just so frustrating,” he said.

The couple are now facing court action from the landlord, as eviction procedures get under way.

They say they will stay in the home until they have to leave as they have no other option available.

Terry Jermy, Breckland councillor for Saxon ward, said that the council’s housing shortage meant staying in the home was the best option for the family.

“The only people who are being housed at the moment are people who are on the priority list, often because they are being threatened with court action.

“There just aren’t enough affordable houses being built,” he said.

Breckland Council said it has 2,015 people on its housing waiting list. A spokesman said it usually homed around 700 families and individuals a year.

• Have you been affected by the housing shortage? Let us know by emailing

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