Family living rough in council car park

Amanda and her daughter are homeless

Photo:©Matthew Myatt 2011

As darkness fell across the Civic Offices car park and councillors scuttled from their cars to another meeting Amanda Denton drew her duvet closer to her and vowed:

“I’m going to be here as long as it takes.”

Amanda, a 38 year old lorry driver and her 18 year-old-daughter – an Eastleigh college student – have been living rough in the council office car park for a week a now, sleeping in their cramped two door R –Reg coupe along with their two dogs Ruby and Missy.

They were evicted from their rented accommodation after Amanda – a former council street scene employee – lost her job and were told by the council the only way they could get temporary accommodation was if they ‘got rid’ of the family pets .

“The council told me I’m not an urgent priority and I should put my dogs in a kennel, my cats in a cattery and all my furniture in storage. I simply can’t afford to do that”

So far friends and family have helped to home the cats and store the furniture but although the council found them B&B accommodation in Totton, the landlord would not tolerate having the dogs anywhere on the property which has led the family to take up residence in the council car park to highlight their plight.

“The only accommodation available is private rented and they cherry pick, they don’t want pets or families or DSS.”

“Eastleigh council sent us to Totton because they claimed there was no B&B accommodation available in the borough and we should look elsewhere – but why should I? My employer is in Fair Oak and my daughter goes to Eastleigh College.”

Amanda’s daughter does not want to be named for fear of the stigma it may bring her – her fellow students do not know she is a rough sleeper.

Daughter with 'Ruby' the pet Jack Russell she refuses to give up

Daughter with 'Ruby' the pet she refuses to give up

She also says she fears she may fail her exams due to the stress she is under.

In an email distributed to councillors and staff this morning, entitled ‘New car park resident’, Tony Hall the head of Housing and Environmental Health said:

“We have been aware of this mother and college age daughter for some time. We secured bed and breakfast for the family, following their undertaking to kennel their dogs. No B&B’s we have access to will accept dogs. Ms Denton stayed at the B&B for a few days, but it is believed that the dogs were either staying in the B&B, or sleeping in her car. The B&B proprietor legitimately advised that this was not acceptable, so she left the accommodation of her own volition.

We continue to work with the family, but a major stumbling point is her refusal to consider kennelling for the dogs. Therefore, we are trying to assist her in finding privately rented accommodation where she can take her dogs. Of course, if she is willing to kennel the dogs (which we can arrange), we can again secure B&B in the interim.”

“All we are asking for is the chance to get back on our feet again” said Amanda as Mother and Daughter hugged each other and settled down with their pets for another long night.

  4 comments for “Family living rough in council car park

  1. Bedding Down
    March 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Why do Eastleigh Borough Council always ship homeless people out of the Borough. They claim that there is no B&B accom in Eastleigh that they can use.?? I bet if you called the local B&B’s and asked if they had room that EBC could use they would jump at the chance of the extra business.!! Sounds more like “Ship them out of the Borough and its not our problem”.

    Shame on you Eastleigh Borough Council.!!

  2. mm
    Eastleigh Xpress
    March 16, 2011 at 12:01 am


  3. Peter Stewart
    March 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Unfortunately this “no pets” rule is the norm in rented properties But why? Surely it would be relatively cheap to arrange “pet damage” insurance. Meanwhile I suppose if this family want a place they will sadly have to house the pets elsewhere.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      March 16, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      I understand the family HAS been found emergency accommodation today in Botely which will accept their pets as well.

      Will update story later.

Comments are closed.