Linda’s Story – Surviving Homelessness In Britain

Linda, originally from Trinidad, is a single mother of a seven-year old daughter and the main carer of her elderly mother. She has been waiting several years for the Home Office to decide if she can remain permanently in the UK. Until November 2014 she was living in a small flat that she rented from an uncle. But, out of the blue, she received a notice of eviction. Her confused residency situation meant that she was not eligible for housing assistance.

 

Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer Cinzia D’Ambrosi is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography.  From her project ‘The Other Half‘.  To see Cinzia’s projects click on any image.

 

In November 2014 Linda receives a notice of eviction. She has no-where to go.

In November 2014 Linda receives a notice of eviction. She has no-where to go.

 

The stress of an eviction is particularly hard on children. The number of children needing mental health care in the UK is increasing. Many come from families in unstable housing.

The stress of an eviction is particularly hard on children. The number of children needing mental health care in the UK is increasing. Many come from families in unstable housing.

 

The UK has had a steady increase in the number of evictions since the year 2000. According to the Ministry of Justice 37,739 private and public sector tenants in 2013 saw their homes repossessed by court bailiffs. The 2014 statistics are not yet complete but show significant rises.

The UK has had a steady increase in the number of evictions since the year 2000. According to the Ministry of Justice 37,739 private and public sector tenants in 2013 saw their homes repossessed by court bailiffs. The 2014 statistics are not yet complete but show significant rises.

 

The Other Half is a collection of photo stories exposing the realities of women and children in hidden homelessness in Britain. The project captures their lives of displacement, homelessness and unsuitable, precarious living spaces. Women and children have been hit hard from the economic crisis and the subsequent policies of Austerity. Many are left in unprotected and vulnerable situations even more so following a marriage breakdown, domestic abuse and/or poverty. Their presence among those homeless and in temporary shelters are in large numbers.  For these families—like so many worldwide—the threat of eviction or having to move far away from support networks and schools can have lasting detrimental effects on their lives.

 

"I don't have enough money. Everything is on top of you, you do the best you can, face the causes, and plead your case" Linda.

“I don’t have enough money. Everything is on top of you, you do the best you can, face the causes, and plead your case” Linda.

 

 Linda's daughter was born in the UK. They have been living in a limbo for the last seven years waiting for their case to be reviewed by the Home Office.

Linda’s daughter was born in the UK. They have been living in a limbo for the last seven years waiting for their case to be reviewed by the Home Office.

 

Linda and her mum spend a lot of time together. Linda is not allowed to work until her permit to stay in the UK is granted.

Linda and her mum spend a lot of time together. Linda is not allowed to work until her permit to stay in the UK is granted.

 

Linda's mother is 71 years old and suffers from diabetes, making her totally dependent on her daughter. The conditions of the small, dump flat and the lack of money for buying proper food is having an enormous impact on the deterioration of her health.

Linda’s mother is 71 years old and suffers from diabetes, making her totally dependent on her daughter. The conditions of the small, dump flat and the lack of money for buying proper food is having an enormous impact on the deterioration of her health.

 

In the last three years, I have been documenting the lives of women in unstable or hidden homelessness in London. In Edge of Humanity Magazine, I am presenting the story of Linda, who is originally from Trinidad.  I first met her when she was living in a very precarious circumstances.  Been in a legal unconfirmed status, it meant that she had no right to public recourse fund and therefore no right for housing, work. For seven years, she has been living in limbo, waiting for the government to grant her permanent residency so she can legally work and live in the UK, meanwhile living in a small flat that an uncle was allowing her to live into.  However, out of the blue, she received an eviction notice. Her confused residency situation meant that she was not eligible for housing assistance. Thankfully, she was able to receive a notice of permit to stay in the UK., but her ordeal has taken her to months of uncertainty and upheaval. Linda and her daughter were moved into a hostel and then moved to a temporary housing miles away. Her mother was left out from any support because never registered and was literally living day by day in homes of supportive people.

 

Linda had to give away most of her belongings when she moved to a hostel. Since then, she’s been given a room at a local B&B and is getting help from a legal center.

Linda had to give away most of her belongings when she moved to a hostel. Since then, she’s been given a room at a local B&B and is getting help from a legal center.

 

Linda and her daughter were given a room in a B&B in Southall. This is miles away from her school.

Linda and her daughter were given a room in a B&B in Southall. This is miles away from her school.

 

This story has a special place in my heart. Recently, Linda’s mother has died, due to complications from diabetes. She died without any legal papers and her funeral is also in a limbo as most of her life has been. As an observant, then a friend, I have been helping to collect funds for her funeral.

 

See also:

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Book By Cinzia D’Ambrosi

 


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