The human cost of Buckingham’s housing crisis

Posed pic of a suitcase for homeless feature.
Posed pic of a suitcase for homeless feature.
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A BUCKINGHAM family of four face having to move to hostel accommodation in Aylesbury or Oxford, as they cannot get a house locally.

Natalie Taylor, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, is one of the human faces of Buckingham’s housing problems.

With three children at local schools, and unable to work due to a long-term medical condition, she has been unsuccessful at bidding for local houses on the controversial Bucks Home Choice system.

And with homelessness looming today, she has been told the only place Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) can offer her family is a disability unit in Griffin Place, Aylesbury.

But Ms Taylor, 30, is unable to drive due to her medical condition, and would be unable to get her three children to and from school in Brackley and Buckingham from Aylesbury.

It would also leave her without the support of her mother, who lives with her brother in a two-bed house in Buckingham.

“If I have a seizure, who’s going to look after my children?” she said.

Renting privately in Buckingham, Ms Taylor was given notice to quit a month ago by her landlord, who wanted the house back, and she has been unable to find another private rented house she can afford.

She says she gave AVDC evidence of her impending eviction along with medical evidence from her GP about her condition.

But she is still classified as being in the lowest priority category for bidding for properties on Home Choice – Band D.

Ms Taylor’s GP has put her on anti-depressants due to stress, but she has been warned this could aggravate her seizures.

And she said the anxiety is also affecting her children.

Buckingham homeless charity Chapter 1, which was set up to provide temporary housing for people like Ms Taylor is unable to offer her a home because all its houses are full and tenants are finding it impossible to find affordable housing locally in order to move on.

District councillor for Buckingham Robin Stuchbury, who has been trying to help Ms Taylor and others, has proposed a motion to AVDC that affordable housing in new developments should be offered to local residents first.

The motion will go to full council on October 19.

He said: “What we must remember is the social and economic cost of people moving from their kin to another area puts a very large strain on the family unit and can only in the long term cause huge financial and social cost to the community.”

AVDC housing needs manager Roy Brooks said: “It is vital that we house Ms Taylor in suitable accommodation for her medical needs. We have explained to her that Griffin Place in Aylesbury is our only temporary accommodation facility in the district. There is a disabled unit currently available but Ms Taylor has indicated that she is not going to move from the area where she is currently living.”