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Mum camps out for a home

PUBLISHED: 12:27 11 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:41 25 August 2010

UPSET: Daisy 4,  Albi, seven months and Coral, 3, with mum Charlene.

UPSET: Daisy 4, Albi, seven months and Coral, 3, with mum Charlene.

A pregnant mum says she had to camp at council offices until she got a home for her children after being evicted. Four month s pregnant Charlene Smith, 24, says she was so fed up with council dithering and excuses, she confronted staff at Bexleyheath civ

A pregnant mum says she had to camp at council offices until she got a home for her children after being evicted.

Four month's pregnant Charlene Smith, 24, says she was so fed up with council dithering and excuses, she confronted staff at Bexleyheath civic offices - the day before eviction from their home in Plantation Road, Slade Green.

She claims her rent was paid and, through no fault of her own, she had been mailed a court order saying the house was being repossessed by bailiffs on February 24, which she first showed staff at the council in January.

Scared that nothing was being done she contacted the council's lettings department two days before eviction and called the following day with no success.

Desperate, she went up to the civic offices and refused to budge and has since contacted the Times to highlight her experience. Ms Smith said: "I felt scared about what was going to happen to us, so for a four-year-old child it must have been even worse.

"Daisy was at school telling her teachers that she wanted to be with her mummy, it was upsetting her.

"I didn't want my children to be sat outside in the freezing cold after the bailiffs arrived, waiting for Bexley council to arrive so I took matters into my own hands."

After waiting for two hours she was offered a property in Slade Green.

Ms Smith said: "We moved in late that night and there was only one bed so we all had to sleep in it.

"The property has been sat empty so they could have found it sooner and saved all this distress."

A spokeswoman for Bexley council said: "We are sorry that Ms Smith feels that she has not received the service she expected.

"Before the council is able to house a homeless person detailed investigations have to be carried out and this can take time depending on the nature of the case concerned."

martin.sawden@archant.co.uk

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