Amy and Joshua, a young couple in their twenties, are facing the devastating prospect of homelessness. With three children and another on the way, they have been given only seven days’ notice to evacuate their rental house. The harsh reality is that they have been unable to keep up with their rental payments due to their reliance on government assistance.

Desperate for help, Amy and Joshua turned to their relatives, but unfortunately, no one was able to provide them with housing. The only relative who tried was an uncle who lived in Somerset, which was not a feasible option for the struggling family. To make matters worse, the housing organization threatened to separate their family members if they did not accept an offer that would disrupt their unity. This left Amy and Joshua feeling terrified and without any other options.

A major hurdle they faced was the inconsistent messages from the Barnsley Council, making it difficult for them to determine the appropriate steps to take. Although Joshua and Victoria Robertshaw had been living in the same house for an indefinite period, Joshua’s name was not on the tenancy agreement. Tragically, Victoria passed away in August 2020 at the age of 45 due to COVID-19, further complicating the situation for the family.

Despite their desperate circumstances, Joshua is determined not to break up his family because of the council’s decisions. A judge issued an outright possession order, mandating that Joshua and his family leave their home within just seven days.

A spokeswoman from Sanctuary Housing explained that this decision was made due to significant rent arrears that had accumulated over an extended period of non-payment. The renters had been unable to meet their financial obligations for months, and despite all efforts to address the situation outside of legal action, a resolution has yet to be reached.

In response to this crisis, the Barnsley Council has been working closely with all parties involved to find a new home for Joshua and his family as quickly as possible. Their goal is to create space for a family on Barnsley’s waiting list, ensuring that no one is left without a safe place to call home. Jenny Platts, the Barnsley counselor overseeing the case, has provided guidance and support to the couple, exploring alternative housing options.

Furthermore, the council is actively exploring all avenues to expedite the search for suitable temporary accommodations, including hotels, while a more permanent solution is sought.