Eaton Socon working single mum’s campaign on BBC’s Sunday Politics Show

A WOMAN who is facing homelessness with her two sons at the end of the month is campaigning for more rights for working single mums.

Kristel Hartup, of Monarch Road, Eaton Socon, appeared on BBC1’s Sunday Politics Show calling for a change in the system which she says will see working people in housing needs prioritised below those of people claiming benefits.

Kristel, 29, was told in December she would have to pay an extra �30 a month for her privately-rented property.

She agreed to the rent increase if repairs were made to the property, and was later handed an eviction notice by her landlord, who told her he wanted to sell. She has until the end of this month to find a new home.

The Driving Standards Agency worker says she has struggled to find another home in the private sector because of her poor credit rating. Attempts to secure a council or housing association tenancy through the Huntingdonshire District Council’s lettings scheme, Home-Link, have also been unsuccessful.

Kristel has been told by the council that emergency accommodation available could be a bed and breakfast in Woodwalton or Huntingdon. She works in Cardington, near Bedford and her sons, Leo, three, and Jay, six, go to Crosshall Primary School, in St Neots.

She said: “If I had to go to Woodwalton, it would take me two hours to travel to work and school. The fact that I work and the fact that I work full-time, that should go towards, not against, you.

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“I was told various times by the council’s housing officer that if I didn’t work I would receive �550 in housing benefits. I don’t think I deserve to be treated like this. I do not scrounge benefits. I think that should count for something.”

The council’s housing needs manager John Collen said council and housing association tenancies were allocated according to housing need. But he conceded there was a shortage of emergency accommodation in St Neots.

Mr Collen said: “Everybody is prioritised based on their current housing circumstances and what level of need they have. The people who have got the highest need or are living in the most severe conditions at the moment are prioritised.

“When someone is threatened with homelessness within 28 days, the Government’s homelessness legislation kicks in. Kristel’s priority is particularly high, ahead of a lot of people on the register.

“A B&B is the last resort. Every so often we do a trawl of the B&B landlords to see who would be willing to work with us, and some landlords are reluctant to work with us.”