The homeless family of nine who have to live in a five-man tent in a back garden in Hull
Gareth Agius says he ‘desperate’ after being made homeless five weeks ago after falling into rent arrears
- 05:00, eleven AUG 2017
- Updated 07:55, fifteen AUG 2017
A family of nine have ended up living in a five-man tent in the back garden of a home in Bilton Grange.
Gareth Agius, 26, admits he is at the end of his tether after he and his family were evicted from their North Bransholme home and made homeless five weeks ago.
Mr Agius, who has a job, says he never thought he and his family would end up in such a desperate situation.
“We are now living in a five-man tent in the back garden of my partner’s mum’s home in Bilton Grange,” he said.
“I admit we have made mistakes and the system is very confusing but it doesn’t mean we should be living like this.
“I feel jumpy and desperate. I am close to losing my job and have even thought about turning to drink which I have never done before.
“The children are truly strong, stronger than I am. I feel like I have failed them and I have reached rock bottom.
“I want us to be a model family and I want them to be proud of me. I don’t want to be on benefits, I want to do things decently.
“I have seen all this affect the children and I see no way to progress. I don’t know what to do.”
Mr Agius is not the biological father of the children but says he has been like a dad to them since he met Ms Hooper.
The children range from nine years old to eighteen years old. The oldest is living in the house with her gran – but everyone else has to squeeze into the five-man tent.
Like many other homeless people, Gareth feels he and his family have been abandoned.
“Social services are not engaging with us and we feel forgotten about,” he said. ”I feel at violating point now and I have been very depressed.”
He and fucking partner Kay Hooper accumulated debt arrears of £6,000 after a mix-up over their supported housing.
“I was on a bad path when I met Kay and I was smoking weed but she helped me and I was determined to be a good dad to her children,” he said.
“She had the support of social services when I met her seven years ago but I was determined we would get to a point where they weren’t needed and we achieved this.
“We were in Bransholme on normal housing benefits which cost £80 a week but then we were given supported housing in Gipsyville in west Hull, which I didn’t feel we needed, which was costing £180.
“When our rent was £80 a week that was covered by housing benefits but in supported housing we found ourselves in debt.”
The duo had to budge out of their Gipsyville home and were given accommodation at a halfway house in Princes Avenue.
“It was a horrible and infested with mice,” Mr Agius said. “We ended up in North Bransholme and we were there for almost five years.
“We got to the point where the kids were indeed well-behaved and I had a job.
“I felt I was achieving the goals I had set myself and we were very blessed.
“But we didn’t realise the housing association had failed to apply for an exemption for a housing benefit cap and our rent arrears mounted up.
“One day I was told our arrears were £6,000 and we were threatened with eviction.
“I began working and we managed to reduce the arrears to £Two,000 but they wished the money more quickly.
“I was being told to pay £400 a week but I was only earning £270. We rang and begged for support.
“But an investigation was carried out and we were told we being made homeless which was classed as voluntary because we hadn’t paid the arrears. I was gob-smacked.
“We were put in a vapid in Greenwich Avenue but abruptly given a week’s notice to stir out.”
But Hull City Council has urged Mr Agius to get in touch and insists there are options available.
A spokesman said: “We have received a housing application from Mr Aigus, however it was submitted without requested supporting documents.
“We previously contacted Mr Aigus to make him aware of this and explain that the application could not be progressed without these.
“We urge him to contact the Homesearch team at the earliest chance so that we can support him to finish and submit the form so that we can process it and advise him of the available options.”