A Horsham couple, who could become homeless next month, have expressed their frustration at the vicious circle faced by many people with unemployment and debt.
Franco and Hayley Cavallo, of The Gables, have experienced ill health and decreased income, leading to them to have rent arrears and low credit rating.
Despite the fact they both work they have not been able to find another place to live, partly due to the fact they have two chihuahuas.
Mrs Cavallo, 47, said: “It all started in November 2009. My husband was almost home from work when his car was struck from behind by another car. No-one was injured but his car was written off by the insurance company. Due to the poor payout and the need for a decent car to get to work, we got a newish car on hire purchase.”
Just a few months later Mr Cavallo, 44, lost his job as a bus driver and then Mrs Cavallo sustained a shoulder injury and was unable to work for months.
She continued: “My health continued to deteriorate but I was unable to claim any disability allowance as it was not serious enough nor could I claim any Jobseekers Allowance as I had not paid enough National Insurance due to being a housewife and mother for most of the previous 20 years. I eventually found another part time job in a different care home.”
The couple’s private landlady has now served them notice on their home, but their hunt for a new one has been hit with disappointment.
“We will have to live in our car,” Mrs Cavallo said. “We have gone after a caravan on a farmer’s field, but he gave it to someone else, we have looked out of the area in Burgess Hill. We lost another one due to our credit rating. People want a guarantor which we don’t have.”
Horsham District Council has advised them they cannot do anything until the landlady got a court order to evict them.
Mrs Cavallo said: “We asked (the council) about our two chihuahuas, Bruno and Tyson, and were told that they could not go with us. To us, they are our children and we will not be separated from them.”
An HDC spokesman said: “When an applicant is served notice by a private landlord, Horsham District Council advises the applicant that he or she will not be considered as facing homelessness until the landlord has obtained a possession order from the court.
“Once the applicant can advise the Council of a possession date, a full options assessment will be carried out which will establish whether the Council has a duty to provide temporary accommodation for the applicant once he or she becomes homeless and whether he or she can afford to rent privately.
“Due to the acute shortage of social rented housing in the Horsham District, applicants face a long wait and those who can afford to rent privately may be assisted with the rent deposit scheme.
“Where the Council has a duty to provide temporary accommodation as a last resort safety net for homeless applicants, pets are not allowed and applicants have to make their own arrangements for kennelling, fostering or staying with family or friends.”