Porthleven woman evicted after owing £700 by bedroom tax
HER inability to pay the new bedroom tax has seen a woman being evicted from her home for owing only £700.
In Friday's rain, Stacey Ingall, 23, was left standing outside her former flat in Matela Close, Porthleven, with her belongings piled around her.
Two bailiffs, six police officers, five staff from Coastline Housing and a dog warden had arrived at about 2pm.
Ms Ingall said spiralling living costs and a cut in benefits meant she could not pay her rent. Coastline Housing said it had taken all necessary steps before eviction, including a new rent repayment plan.
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Ms Ingall said: "I've had a terrible year. I moved into my home in January and by February my daughter had been taken from me into care.
"I've had no money and no support. It comes down to the fact that I've been in care my whole life.
"I've had 70 homes and now they've taken this one away."
She said she had contemplated suicide and suffered postnatal depression. "I just can't cope with day-to-day life," she said.
Suddenly, because she had a spare bedroom, Ms Ingall had her housing benefit cut as a result of the so-called bedroom tax, introduced in April.
She said she could not afford the extra £285 a month.
"I can't get a job because I've got learning difficulties," she said. "I've had lots of issues all through my life."
With her arrears at £700, Coastline offered her the chance to repay £55 a fortnight: "I just couldn't do it. They told me they sent me three letters of eviction but someone must have been taking my post."
"They said there was antisocial behaviour. You ask anyone around this estate who knows me; I'm a lovely girl. I wouldn't hurt anyone and I'd help anyone out."
After her electricity was cut off, she and a friend spent the night before her eviction packing up by candlelight.
In the rain on Friday, neighbours came out of their homes to help carry her possessions to shelter.
Ms Ingall said she would not be parted from her dog, Bear, and would even consider living in a tent.
She spent the evening on the sofa at a neighbour's home.
A spokesman for Coastline Housing said he was unable to comment on the individual case but eviction notices were granted by a court following a lengthy application process.
"When we become aware a customer is experiencing problems paying their rent, or there are changes in benefits, we work closely with them to ensure they are claiming all their entitlements," he said.
"An affordable payment plan is put in place, and we also make referrals to other organisations that can provide advice or support with benefits and finances."
He said it then took a number of months to get a court order for rent repayments.
"If the court order is not kept to it may eventually lead to a customer losing their home," he said.