A child slept on the floor of the council building after staff “went home” leaving the homeless family “locked” inside for 4 hours

A family seeking help from the council claims they were abandoned and “locked up” inside a civic center, with a child forced to sleep under a desk. Tiffany Powell, 26, and her partner Steven Bartlett, 29, were left stranded for four hours after they say staff let them inside and locked the doors. The couple documented their ordeal inside the City Hall Civic Center in Harrow, Greater London, with their children Elliot, five, and Vanessa, two, and posted it online. The family says they were evicted from their rental home on January 25, after complaining of “mold, damp, leaks, water in electricity and multiple fire hazards.” Tiffany said: “My daughter and I arrived at the Civic Center at 1pm after the bailiffs took our house keys. “My partner picked my son up from school and they also joined us at the Civic Center. “We were there asking for help with our current situation, but when 5pm hit, the staff we trusted for help just walked out, locked the door and went home, leaving us stuck for four hours alone.” Video footage shows the reception area of ​​the building empty, with the doors locked and the family stranded without food as Elliot slept under a desk and Vanessa in the stroller. “It turned out our kids slept under the desk and the stroller was my son sitting on the floor because there was nowhere else to sit and he was tired from a long day at school,” Tiffany added. “Our daughter fell asleep in her pram. There was no place for a bed so this was the best option available at the time as we didn’t want our two children sleeping on the floor. “We didn’t want our son to be on the floor. but he had nothing, not even a seat, to offer her due to the lack of interest in our situation on the part of the Harrow Council staff. “Many people walk on this floor during the day walking from who knows where, and who knows what kind of germs on the soles of their shoes.” Emergency accommodation was finally found for the family that night at around 9pm, after eight hours in the Civic Center, four of them being ‘locked’ inside. Once accommodation officers were able to facilitate emergency accommodation in a Travelodge bed and breakfast, a security guard arrived to let them out. After spending the night in emergency accommodation, the family returned to the Civic Center in the morning and was able to secure another night in a hotel. Tiffany is a stay-at-home mom caring for her two children and Steven has been laid off from work due to injury. The couple was renting from a private landlord who they say failed to maintain the property properly, citing “mold, damp, leaks, water in electricity and multiple fire hazards.” Tiffany said she was evicted for raising concerns about the condition of the home, which was followed by an unaffordable rent increase. The family are trying to secure permanent accommodation in the local area, but have been offered a place in Northampton, East Midlands, more than 50 miles away. Tiffany added: “Harrow council have done nothing but make unrealistic offers to locals in Northampton, taking my son and daughter away from his poor father and taking my son away from his educational support, who has already diagnosed him with anxiety and moved on with it.” The family has become a victim of the cost-of-living crisis with runaway inflation and rising prices of everyday items. He added: “I am struggling now to rent privately due to the current inflation. There is also the problem I have been facing where I have been forced to replace many items that were still new due to mold and damp where I had to get rid of them or risk my son’s health. Tiffany is now looking for work to help maintain the family’s income and keep them afloat during this period, while they search for a new home. The family is currently at Steven’s parents’ house, while they figure out how to proceed. Tiffany added: “My immediate plans are to secure a property in local Council or a private lease and have a safe home for my children where they can grow up free from the negative experiences they have currently endured. Harrow Council Press Office has stated that the doors were not locked and that there were security officers in the immediate vicinity. The council explained that the family could not leave the center because the security automation was turned off outside the office at 2:00 p.m. A spokesman said: ” We can confirm that the family was not locked inside the Civic Center.” While the video appears to show this, the family was able to leave freely and was supported by our security team as housing officers helped find them suitable emergency accommodation. “The officers continue to support the family during this stressful time. At the end of this month, we will close the Civic Center and open a new customer service center at 6 Gayton Road for people at risk of homelessness or with concerns about vulnerable residents. “This helps us improve the customer experience.”

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