Mother in homeless campaign evicted by landlord

Mother in homeless campaign evicted by landlord

Battersea mum in homeless campaign evicted by landlord

Battersea mum in homeless campaign evicted by landlord

First published in Wandsworth by , Senior Reporter

A mother who featured in a homeless charity campaign was forced to move into a temporary hostel last week, after being evicted by her landlord.

Sandra Munoz-Alvares, 38,was living in Ingrave Street, Battersea, but last year was served notice to leave the flat she shared with her young son after not being able to afford a rent increase.

She lost her eviction case the week before Christmas and the bailiffs turning up to her house last week.

Ms Munoz-Alvares, an unpaid voluntary worker, found it impossible to find affordable accommodation in the borough because the Local Housing Benefit cap limited the amount she could spend on accomodation to £290 a week.

She is now living in a temporary hostel in Balham with her five-year-old son, until the council finds them permanent accommodation.

The volunteer now acts as a spokesperson for homeless charity Shelter, having featured in a poster campaign on the tube during Christmas to raise awareness of the rising tide of homelessness.

She said: "I have been re-housed for six to eight months. There are just two rooms, I share a room with my son and there is a living room/kitchen area.

"I want to go back to Battersea. It is not nice to be powerless, I can't choose where I get to live.

"I don't know if Shelter helped me, but I hope it helped other people and let them know what is happening. Homelessness will keep on rising."

She said she has been forced to quit her voluntary role in York Gardens Library and committee position parenting group Wowmums because it was too far to travel.

But the former media student hopes to make the best out of a bad situation and plans to make a documentary about life in the hostel where around 100 homeless families.

A spokesman for Wandsworth Council said: "Throughout this whole process we have supported and assisted Ms Munoz-Alvarez.

"We offered her clear advice about her housing options and intervened on her behalf with her landlord to ascertain his intentions.

"As soon as it became clear that she could no longer reside in that property we found her somewhere else to live and ensured that she and her son had a roof over their heads."

Comments (3)

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9:48am Tue 13 Mar 12

Minuteman says...

'Only' £1100 a month to spend on accommodation? Poor thing! I just did a search and found plenty of flats for rent in that area for £250pw or under. Are they not in the right part of Battersea?

Personally, I've decided that it's my right to live in central London - maybe the council will pay my rent of £3000 a month?

If you can't afford the rent, move to a cheaper area. It's called 'living within your means'.
'Only' £1100 a month to spend on accommodation? Poor thing! I just did a search and found plenty of flats for rent in that area for £250pw or under. Are they not in the right part of Battersea? Personally, I've decided that it's my right to live in central London - maybe the council will pay my rent of £3000 a month? If you can't afford the rent, move to a cheaper area. It's called 'living within your means'. Minuteman
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Tue 13 Mar 12

janee says...

What isn't clear from this article is that the flat she was living in used to be a council flat. It was sold under that last sell off, probably at a discount. The person who benefitted from that is now making money from money invested by rate payers.

This will be happening again. Local Authority housing was introduced to make housing affordable. We now have Wandsworth Council supporting a climate which will encourage the profiteers at the expense of people who don't have the money for a deposit or enough income for a mortgage.
What isn't clear from this article is that the flat she was living in used to be a council flat. It was sold under that last sell off, probably at a discount. The person who benefitted from that is now making money from money invested by rate payers. This will be happening again. Local Authority housing was introduced to make housing affordable. We now have Wandsworth Council supporting a climate which will encourage the profiteers at the expense of people who don't have the money for a deposit or enough income for a mortgage. janee
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Tue 13 Mar 12

community filmaker says...

No Estate agent in Battersea had a two bedroom below the cap and the few privatly owned just under were not accepting housing benefit recipients. My landlord wanted £400 extra a month after my two years contract finished. Is that right to increase a property that much in such a short period of time? The housing benefit money is only passing through me to the landlord pocket. Bring back the rent control and no family and their children will have to leave their community. The area I want to live in is in the most deprived area of Battersea, and this place is attractive to me because of the support network I have and the easy access to my child school. As a single parent, a network like this is invaluable. I am now living in a council run temporary hostel in one of the most though after location in Balham but it is not my community and I feel I don't belong here. I would happily go back to my Estate where I use to chair the resident association, surrounded by my community and network that took me many years to build. Especially as we support each other and trying to make a difference in this borough. It seems that this government is out of touch willing to invest tax payer money to help first buyers who will then in turn re-rent their place to tenant at crazy price. At least if they retain social housing stock, they are paying themselves (Not the landlord) and in the long run, will make a profit to build more housing which is needed. I am only in this situation because of the sudden enormous rent increase and the change of benefit cap and it can happen to anyone. With thousand of families in London becoming homeless (14% rise) it will cause more more pain and cost more. Families with young children can't keep on moving home/school every 2 years, they need stability. I volunteer in order to improve my job prospects and build up my carreer (not a lifestyle choice as I would rather work for money than free) and becoming homeless has been a serious set back. Hopefully I will use this bad experience into a positive one as the BBC finally showed interest in my work but only if I can produce a documentary out of the life experience of becoming homeless and living in temporary accomodation, regrouping glimpse of families stories, drama and resolution including my own. It is not easy to live in an unkown place with a small child in two small rooms filled with boxes, without even a fridge, a washing mashine or telephone line. Thanks to technology, I have a limited internet with a USB Key, so I am not totally cut off but I can't do online editing work. My community, the women of Wandworth and local councillor were really supportive and were a great help through the entire process. Shelter also helped, and gave me great advice and was there with me in difficult time. If you or your family are going through this, do not hesitate to contact them.
No Estate agent in Battersea had a two bedroom below the cap and the few privatly owned just under were not accepting housing benefit recipients. My landlord wanted £400 extra a month after my two years contract finished. Is that right to increase a property that much in such a short period of time? The housing benefit money is only passing through me to the landlord pocket. Bring back the rent control and no family and their children will have to leave their community. The area I want to live in is in the most deprived area of Battersea, and this place is attractive to me because of the support network I have and the easy access to my child school. As a single parent, a network like this is invaluable. I am now living in a council run temporary hostel in one of the most though after location in Balham but it is not my community and I feel I don't belong here. I would happily go back to my Estate where I use to chair the resident association, surrounded by my community and network that took me many years to build. Especially as we support each other and trying to make a difference in this borough. It seems that this government is out of touch willing to invest tax payer money to help first buyers who will then in turn re-rent their place to tenant at crazy price. At least if they retain social housing stock, they are paying themselves (Not the landlord) and in the long run, will make a profit to build more housing which is needed. I am only in this situation because of the sudden enormous rent increase and the change of benefit cap and it can happen to anyone. With thousand of families in London becoming homeless (14% rise) it will cause more more pain and cost more. Families with young children can't keep on moving home/school every 2 years, they need stability. I volunteer in order to improve my job prospects and build up my carreer (not a lifestyle choice as I would rather work for money than free) and becoming homeless has been a serious set back. Hopefully I will use this bad experience into a positive one as the BBC finally showed interest in my work but only if I can produce a documentary out of the life experience of becoming homeless and living in temporary accomodation, regrouping glimpse of families stories, drama and resolution including my own. It is not easy to live in an unkown place with a small child in two small rooms filled with boxes, without even a fridge, a washing mashine or telephone line. Thanks to technology, I have a limited internet with a USB Key, so I am not totally cut off but I can't do online editing work. My community, the women of Wandworth and local councillor were really supportive and were a great help through the entire process. Shelter also helped, and gave me great advice and was there with me in difficult time. If you or your family are going through this, do not hesitate to contact them. community filmaker
  • Score: 0

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