Southern council rehoused mum 220 miles away in North East over claims London is 'unaffordable'

Dorcas in her flat
-Credit: (Image: Facundo Arrizabalaga/MyLondon)


A mum was relocated a staggering 220 miles away by a council in the south east after they deemed temporary accommodation in London to be "unaffordable". Dorcas Micaba, initially apprehensive about the significant move, has now settled into her new life in Hartlepool with her two young sons.

The 26 year old made the journey from Slough to Hartlepool with her children, aged five and three, following Redbridge Council's decision, which cited the "housing crisis" as the reason for being unable to provide suitable local housing.

Previously, the trio had been crammed into a single bedroom in Slough. Now, Dorcas expresses contentment with her unexpected peace in the North East, as reported by MyLondon.

Regarding her relocation, she commented: "At first I was worried because of the distance, and I hadn't even heard of this place before [Hartlepool]. But when I got here and was looking at the place, I thought it's not bad and so I'm happy."

She further remarked: "It was so far and I was just thinking how would I cope and deal with it but when I got here it's not bad. It's a place that I can live - there's not a lot of people, it's not crowded and it's not noisy. I'm a peaceful person, I love peace. So anyway I got used to the place.", reports Teesside Live.

Dorcas, who arrived in the UK on her own from Angola in 2018, sought help from Redbridge Council after her relationship ended three years later. She is a mother to two sons but suffered the heartbreaking loss of a third child who passed away shortly after birth in December 2020.

The family endured a series of temporary accommodations before settling in a B&B in Gants Hill, Ilford, which distressingly faced the cemetery where her late son was buried in 2023. She expressed her sorrow: "It was so depressing. Every time I had to pass there I would just think about the past and it was really bad. It was awful."

They were eventually relocated to The Grand Heights tower block in Slough, a place where Redbridge and Tower Hamlets Council have been rehousing hundreds of Londoners on a short-term basis while searching for their permanent residences. This relocation often spans hundreds of miles from London, with the risk of eviction from temporary housing if they refuse to move.

Yet, Dorcas isn't isolated in her experience; in Hartlepool, she's encountered "hundreds" of other Londoners who've been similarly displaced. She shared: "They're moving people all the time. A lot of people are coming down to Hartlepool, loads of them. They are actually moving people from London to here."

She recounted meeting a woman from another London borough who observed many individuals from her hotel being transferred to Hartlepool. Even the agent who welcomed her to her new home remarked on the frequency of relocations, mentioning that "One lady I met came from another London borough and she told me that she had seen many people from the hotel she was at being moved to Hartlepool. Even the agent, the person that received me when I came here, said they are arranging houses and are moving a lot of people. He said they moved over a hundred people in the last three months or something."

But Dorcas mentions that she is quite content in Hartlepool, with the family occupying a larger home that provides each member their own room upstairs, along with a kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room downstairs and even a garden. The children's school, her GP, and local shops are all conveniently located nearby - as for the beach, it's merely a few miles away.

"The only thing I've got to restart is my studies," shared Dorcas. She has plans for rejoining college in the northeast, as well as taking up customer service training - an endeavour that would allow her to work from home and sustain her family.

Reflecting on the magnitude of relocation, she humorously added, "I'm surprised I'm still in England."

In response to these circumstances, Redbridge Council previously commented that they were grappling with a housing shortage mandating more people to be housed outside London in council-provided temporary accommodation. Reportedly, applications for homelessness to the council surged by 49% from 2019/20 to totalling at 1417 in 2022/23.

Furthermore, the anticipated wait for a three-bedroom property hovers around 16 years.

A spokesperson for Redbridge Council addressed the issue, stating: "The cost of temporary accommodation in London is simply unaffordable, with many private landlords now charging sky-high rental prices. As a council, we must look further afield to give people better accommodation and chances of sustaining a tenancy without needing the Council's help."

"Redbridge Council, like many other London boroughs, is acquiring affordable homes outside the borough to provide much-needed stability for families. These homes are often larger than those available for temporary accommodation and provide peace of mind and security for families, as it provides a longer-term solution."