A homeless family of six are sleeping in the lobby of Croydon council's headquarters after social services refused to offer them further emergency accommodation.

The Cummings family, from Thornton Heath, were evicted from their private property in September having accumulated arrears due to their housing benefit payments being delayed.  

Mother Denise, father Anthony, their three-month-old son De-Mario and other three children were housed in emergency accommodation until the beginning of this month.

They were forced to leave the hotel on December 4 as the council now consider them 'intentionally homeless' since they have failed to organise accommodation of their own.

Unable to find a private renting company who will accept housing benefit payments, the family came to Bernard Weatherhill House to seek help from social services who told them they were no longer eligible for emergency accommodation.

With nowhere else to go, the family have slept in the council building since Monday night.

Mrs Spence-Cummings, 43, said: "They are basically abandoning us. It is harsh and evil.

"They are refusing to help a law-abiding family, with a three-month-old baby.

"I am frustrated, cold and hungry - this just doesn't seem real. It's as if it’s happening to someone else.

"If they can't house us in emergency accommodation, then why can't they at least point us in the direction of a renting company that will accept people on housing benefit.”

Attempts have been made to remove the family, but police and building security have been sympathetic to their situation.

On Monday the family slept on the floor and chairs in an interview room. On Tuesday they were moved to the reception area.

Mrs Spence Cummings says they are exposed to a cold draft throughout the night due to the building’s automatic opening doors which are used 24 hours a day.

Mr Cummings works as a self-employed plasterer, but is unable to accept jobs currently as his help is needed providing food and supplies as his wife can't leave their children.  

Baby De-Mario was born on the day the family moved into their previous emergency residence in September. 

A council spokesman said: “When anyone presents as homeless the council carries out statutory checks to see if it has a legal duty to accommodate them, and every case involving children is reviewed as a priority.

“Our top housing priority will always be families who are in greatest need, but even if a financial assessment shows a family has the means to find their own private accommodation, we can help speed this up through offering a deposit and rent in advance when they have found somewhere to move to.

“We also offer discretionary housing grants and budgeting advice to help families manage their finances on a long-term basis.

“Our council offices’ reception is not set up to be used as emergency accommodation, and we always offer housing options to people presenting as homeless to avoid this.”