Carer treated with nothing but contempt and it’s just so unfair

Anna Ferdinando given two weeks to leave her grandmother’s two-bed house in Hill Road

A mother and her seven-month-old son are being evicted from their home by Haringey Borough Council because she did not claim benefits.

Anna Ferdinando, of Hill Road, Muswell Hill, and her son Arthur are being forced to leave her late grandmother Helene McPhillips’ council house because she did not claim Carer’s Allowance.

The 36 year-old moved into the two-bedroom property in early 2008 to become a live-in carer because her grandmother, who passed away in November 2011, had chronic arthritis and needed full-time support.

She said: “I’m devastated and just feel really let down.

“My grandmother lived in this house for more than 30 years and I have a lot of memories of being in this place as a child.

“Nan always wanted me to have the house after she was gone and told me to look after her garden but I won’t be able to do that now.”

The council is refusing let Ms Ferdinando stay in the house because it claims she cannot provide enough evidence that she had lived in the house for 12 months before her grandmother died.

She tried to apply for discretionary tenancy which lets a live-in carer be considered a tenant provided they have lived in the house for more than a year.

However a policy change in 2011, just months before her grandmother passed, meant that live-in carers also had to be claiming Carer’s Allowance for this to apply.

Ms Ferdinando said she is being penalised for not claiming benefits because the council knew she was a live-in carer.

She said: “I adored my grandmother and I was happy to look after her without being paid to do it.

“Considering that the change only happened months before my nan passed away then surely the old policy should still apply to me because I was looking after her for four years.

“There are thousands of unpaid carers in Haringey – what’s going to happen to them?”

In June of last year the council told her if she stayed in the property she would be considered a trespasser and be charged £116.34 per week for the property’s occupation and for damages.

Ms Ferdinando was pregnant at the time and refused to leave because she wanted to fight the authority’s decision.

She said: “The whole situation put me under a tremendous amount of stress at a time in my life when I should have been relaxing.

“The council sent me a letter on the day before I was due to give birth asking me to leave the house.

“When my son was born he had to spend a week in the ICU on a life-support machine because he became very distressed during the birth.”

After losing a court case against the council for the right to stay in the property Ms Ferdinando has now been given two weeks to vacate the house.

She has been advised to register herself as homeless so that the council can rehouse her but has been told no accomodation will be ready for when she leaves.

She added: “My family and I have been treated with nothing but contempt and it’s just so unfair.

“What I don’t understand is why I’m being forced to leave when they will still have to find me a property of the same size.

“Since my partner moved in we have been paying rent and council tax.”

Ms Ferdinando’s local councillor Sophie Erskine and the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green Lynne Featherstone have both given her thier full support.

The new mother has set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account campaigning to save her home.

The Haringey Independent is awaiting a response from Haringey Council.