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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Pensioner Hannah Rose rejects caravan offered by Ashford Borough Council - labelling it 'disgusting'

02 January 2014
by Suz Elvey

Homeless grandmother Hannah Rose, 71, arrived in Ashford in November with all her possessions and her two pet cats packed into her Volkswagen Golf estate and a home-made wooden trailer.

She asked Ashford Borough Council to help her find a caravan where she could stay and claim housing benefit while she fixed her trailer, dried possessions soaked when the vehicle leaked and searched for her dream home in an eco community.

Hannah Rose

Hannah Rose

However, when she was shown a caravan she said it was so dirty there was no way she could stay there.

She decided instead to return to the council-funded B&B she has been staying in for the past month.

Ms Rose, who has lived all over the UK and abroad, most recently moving to Kent from Sussex, said: “It was absolutely horrendous. The caravan was disgusting.

"The windows were not clean, the furnishings were nicotine-encrusted and the stench of cigarettes was overpowering. It was unacceptable.

The car and trailer where Hannah Rose has been living in Ashford

The car and trailer where Hannah Rose has been living in Ashford

 

"The friend who came with me said she wouldn’t put a dog in there.”

Ms Rose first went to the site on December 7 and was shown the outside of the caravan but was not able to look inside as no one had a key, she said.

She returned intending to move in on December 22 but when she saw the inside of the vehicle Ms Rose instead moved her belongings into a smaller caravan she claimed she had been offered on her first visit but had dismissed due to its size.

Homeless Hannah Rose was offered a caravan by Ashford council but says it's too disgusting so turned it down

Homeless Hannah Rose was offered a caravan by Ashford council but says it's too disgusting so turned it down

She also left the cats in the caravan and returned to the town centre B&B, which Ashford council has been paying for her to stay in, for one final night.

However, when Ms Rose returned to the caravan the following morning she was in for a shock.

She continued: “The caravan had gone and all my stuff, including my cats, had been chucked under a broken awning.

Hannah took pictures of the oven in the caravan

Hannah took pictures of the oven in the caravan

 

"The cats were in a cage but they had no blanket and everything was wet. I was so distraught. When I first arrived and couldn’t see the cats or my stuff I panicked.”

Ms Rose also claimed that despite the council saying her housing benefit could be used to cover the cost of renting the caravan, the site owner asked her for a week’s payment of £110 up front, which she could not afford to pay.

Ashford council spokesman David Giblin stressed the authority did not house Ms Rose due to her being homeless but gave her details of a site known to accept people on housing benefit in case she wanted to make her own arrangements.

He said: “Ms Rose is still in temporary accommodation and investigations are continuing into her housing situation.

Homeless Hannah Rose is living in her car and trailer, with two cats Brinnie and Tiggles

Homeless Hannah Rose is living in her car and trailer, with two cats Brinnie and Tiggles

“When Ms Rose first approached Ashford Council she advised us that she would be happy to live in a caravan whilst she sought accommodation in an eco-friendly community.

"As part of our advice service we gave her the details of a caravan park as we were advised by them that they would accept occupiers on housing benefit.

“At no time was this an offer of accommodation through homelessness, therefore the accommodation did not require our inspection to confirm suitability.”


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