Lack of Isle of Wight homes means family of six face one-room nightmare

·3-min read
Colin Booth, his partner, and four young children, have been made homeless through no fault of their own. Bedroom shows tight squeeze in their current chalet accommodation.
Colin Booth, his partner, and four young children, have been made homeless through no fault of their own. Bedroom shows tight squeeze in their current chalet accommodation.

THE HEARTBREAKING story of a family of six forced to move into just one room highlights the plight of dozens of Isle of Wight families.

There's a severe lack of homes available on the Island, and it's getting worse.

The Isle of Wight Council this week told the County Press they may have to move homeless families to the mainland.

Colin Booth spoke to us about his family's situation.

He said: "I've paid rent in various properties for 15 years on the Island, never missing a payment. Our situation hasn't happened because of us."

Why can't the Booths find any accommodation on the Isle of Wight?

His landlord is selling the Ventnor flat the family have been renting and Colin hasn't been able to find any other available accommodation.

He has been on Homefinder for two years but nothing has come up.

Despite working for the Isle of Wight Council, in a role helping others in reablement, all the council has been able to offer Colin is temporary emergency housing in a small holiday chalet for a few days.

After this, Colin, his partner, and their four young children will be moved into one room, sharing a bathroom and other facilities with others.

Isle of Wight County Press: Colin Booth with Oberon, six months.
Isle of Wight County Press: Colin Booth with Oberon, six months.

Colin Booth with Oberon, six months.

 

What are Colin's big concerns at being house in just one room?

When the family moves into one room, they need to fit two cots in and there won't be space for basics such as buggies, high chair, cots and toys. Never mind space for the children to play or move around.

"Quinton and Amity were named after my favourite film, Jaws. I guess you could say 'we're gonna need a bigger boat!'"

He is having to pay £288 per month to store their possessions while they are homeless.

Colin said: "They just don't have anywhere to put us.

"Our biggest worry is for our seven year old, who is autistic and has an aversion to public toilets. He has a special cubicle designated for him at school, so sharing an unfamiliar bathroom with others will be very hard for him."

Would Colin be happy if the council offered the family a home on the mainland?

He said: "Some people might take up that offer, but for us, my partner's family are all here, our children were all born here. We would lose all our support.

"Our son is very settled at school and we really don't want to have to move so far away we would have to change schools.

"We are trying to help him cope with moving house at least twice in quick succession. We think a school move could hurt him for years."

Isle of Wight dad remains posivie despite desperate housing situation

The children are Quinton, seven, Phoenix, six, Amity, 22 months, and Oberon, six months. Colin said: "Quinton and Amity were named after my favourite film, Jaws. I guess you could say 'we're gonna need a bigger boat!'"

He added: "We are not looking for a handout, we accept we are lucky to have a roof over our head so we are not homeless out on the street.

"The council staff are doing their best for us but there's just nothing available."

Have you been affected by the threat of homelessness? Contact us on editor@iwcp.co.uk

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