Felixstowe: Stroke victim’s homeless fears for family

DISABLED mum-of-two Julie Madgwick is today pleading with housing officials to find a home for her family.

She has been told she must leave her temporary accommodation by July 10 – and is beside herself with worry over where they will live.

Mrs Madgwick has suffered three strokes despite only being 44, and cannot work because of her physical and speech problems.

She was evicted from her previous home after building up significant rent arrears and the private landlord decided to sell the property in Yeoman Road, Felixstowe. Council officials deem she made herself homeless because of the arrears problems.

Life was fine until 12 years ago at the age of 31 when she suddenly suffered a stroke.

Despite extensive tests and scans, doctors could not discover why Mrs Madgwick, who was working as a software and computer trainer at OOCL at Levington, had suffered the stroke.

Then in 2007 she suffered a second which left her paralysed for eight weeks and permanent walking problems and other difficulties. This has now left her unable to work and thrown her life into chaos.

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Mrs Madgwick, who has children, Shannon, 11, and Kieran, nine, said: “We are now in temporary accommodation in High Road West, Felixstowe, but the council has deemed that we made ourselves homeless and says we will not be offered further help. Orwell Housing now wants to evict us.

“Life is incredibly difficult because of the strokes, just trying to cope with day to day living is hard enough without fighting the council.

“I feel I have had a raw deal and now I am at the end of my tether – I just don’t want to be split up from my children.”

She had found securing private accommodation impossible because landlords did not want people on benefits and demanded a guarantor.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal council said the rent arrears had meant she made herself homeless.

“National housing laws mean that if someone is judged to have made themselves intentionally homeless, the local council has no reason to rehouse them,” he said.

Five meetings had been held with Mrs Madgwick to give her housing and debt advice.

“Even though we have no responsibility to rehouse her as it is her own actions that have made her homeless, we have offered to help her find somewhere to live through alternative ways in the private market, such as a rent deposit scheme. To date she has not taken up these offers,” said the spokesman.

“We have done all that we can to date to assist Mrs Madgwick, whether in paying her housing benefits to stay in her rented Yeoman Road home, or with housing and debt advice, or by finding her temporary accommodation while we assessed whether she was legally entitled to be found a permanent home by the council, or through offering to help her find somewhere to live now that it is clear that her actions have disqualified her from our housing waiting lists.”

A spokeswoman for Orwell Housing Association said the family had been given the temporary accommodation in High Road West while an application for homelessness and subsequent appeal were considered.

“As we act in partnership with Suffolk Coastal and this property is to specifically provide emergency accommodation for those who are unintentionally homeless we have no alternative but to require Mrs Madgwick to vacate the property,” she said.