Couple ‘let down’ by council’s housing help

Jinni Foster and her husband, Mark, are going to lose their home after Mark was diagnosed with diabetes, was put on insulin, and then contracted pneumonia.
Jinni Foster and her husband, Mark, are going to lose their home after Mark was diagnosed with diabetes, was put on insulin, and then contracted pneumonia.
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A COUPLE say they feel ‘let down’ by their local council after being left homeless.

Jinni and Mark Foster are facing the possibility of living in a tent after leaving their privately-rented home in Northumberland Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, on Saturday.

Months of illness and misfortune had left the couple unable to afford the rent.

They contacted St Edmundsbury Borough Council for help on March 17 when the problems first arose, only to receive final word last week that the council could do nothing for them.

Jinni, 40, a nurse at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “I know there are people who are looking for houses as well but I am so angry and now we don’t know where to go.

“We’ve been asking the council for help since March and for them to only get back to us this week is not good enough.”

Their problems first arose in March when HGV driver Mark, 43, was prescribed insulin to treat his diabetes.

His hours were subsequently slashed as his bosses reassessed his ability to drive.

He was cleared to resume work months later, only to be involved in a collision leaving him having to take a period of reduced sick pay that has lasted six weeks so far.

The Fosters’ problems were made worse by their daughters’ behavioural problems which meant Jinni was only able to take a 25-hour a week contract.

She has now secured a full-time contract, but their two daughters, Imogen, 15, and Eden, 11, have had to move in with her previous husband until the situation is resolved.

She said: “We are both old school, hard-working people and it took a lot for us to ask for help.”

A spokeswoman for St Edmundsbury said the council was helping the couple.

“Our Housing Options Team has a number of avenues they can explore in the private sector, but there is a shortage of affordable housing.

“Our advice to families who think they may be getting into difficulties is to seek advice early, while there may be more options available to them”.