Our kids haven’t been to school for a MONTH because the council gave us a house too far away… we’re furious | The Sun

A COUPLE have pleaded with their local council to be rehoused as their kids have been out of school for more than a month.

Matthew Coombs and Samantha Walsh, from Barry, South Wales, say that the council house they were moved into as temporary accommodation is too far away from some of their kids' school for them to attend.

This has meant that two of their four children, nine-year-old Matthew Jr. and five-year-old Ariana, have been out of education for over a month.

The family were renting privately in the village of St Athan, when they were forced out in August by a no-fault eviction when their landlord wanted to sell the property.

Vale of Glamorgan Council then moved them into a three-bedroom flat in Barry, 10 miles away.

This apparently put them outside the catchment area for Matthew Jr. and Ariana's school.


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The couple do not own a car and were only able to get the kids to school using one belonging to Matthew's brother.

However, the vehicle hasn't been available for the past month, leaving them out of options.

Matthew said: "The kids just want to go to school and be with their friends and get educated, and the system doesn't want to do anything about it.

"They've not been at school at all for over a month and they haven't been regularly since we've been here.

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"It feels like we've been placed in the middle of nowhere."

The couples other two children, two-year old Octavia and 13-year-old Chaelan, both go to school (or a creche in Octavia's case) in Barry.

However, Matthew said that the council has not provided any solutions for Matthew Jr. or Ariana.

He added: "I've begged the school to take me to court because at least then something will get done.

"The headteacher has been trying to make sure they can keep their places at the school for a certain amount of time, and for the time being go to a temporary school in Barry. She's been the one working to arrange that, but we've had nothing from the council."

The 36-year-old mechanic also claimed that errors by the council mean that the family are no closer to moving into a permanent home than when they were first evicted and complained about the condition of the temporary property.

He fumed: "When we arrived there was still rubbish in there from the previous tenant. There were black bags of rubbish, a chest of drawers had been smashed up, debris was on the floor. It was disgusting.

"We spent four hours cleaning the place before we could start bringing our stuff in here. My baby cut her foot on the floor because the tiles were broken. I complained to the council but they didn't reply. We've had to put a settee over the tiles."

He added that there was no electricity supply when they moved in, and that the council told him that they would refund him as he registered for gas and electricity in his own name.

Allegedly, the council have not refunded him for six weeks and owes him around £600.

In addition, he said the council had told him the rent would be covered automatically by his housing benefit, but that this had not been paid and the family had not been put on a waiting list for permanent housing.

The devastated dad explained that the couple are struggling to afford Christmas presents this year and has even had to ask the Salvation Army if gifts could be donated.

He fumed: "I've never been in this position in my life."

A council spokesperson said that they are sorry to hear of the family's difficulties and that they have been "raised with a member of staff".

They continued: "We recognise that being made homeless is a traumatic experience and the council’s housing solutions team work closely with households who find themselves in this situation in order to assist them to identify an appropriate housing solution.

"Repairs were completed prior to the family moving in and there are no records of any maintenance issues being reported by the tenant subsequently. We would encourage tenants to report any maintenance issues to us as soon as possible so appropriate repairs can be completed.

"It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay the rent and if people are in receipt of benefits they are required to apply for housing benefit or Universal Credit as appropriate. It is also necessary to provide supporting information as required."

The spokesperson added: "Tenants in temporary accommodation are charged for gas and electricity via a weekly service charge. In this instance, the tenant was advised to register with the utility companies and set up accounts. They are aware that refunds are provided when receipts are provided.

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"Tenants in temporary accommodation may not be considered for more permanent housing if they are not paying the rent and have significant arrears.

"If anyone is experiencing financial difficulties which mean they are unable to pay the rent, they should contact the council as soon as possible as specialist money advice and help with claiming benefits is available."

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