Joy as family of four living in one room offered new home

Zoe Thomson  with her children Tiana (4) and Tommy (3)
Zoe Thomson with her children Tiana (4) and Tommy (3)
Have your say

A FAMILY of four who were forced to live in a single room at a B&B after becoming homeless have been offered a council flat – just hours after we told their heartbreaking story.

Zoe Thomson and her partner John Rendall spoke out after the council gave them no option but to live in temporary accommodation with no kitchen facilities – despite informing the authority in August last year they needed a house.

Natasha Woods and her son Tyler

Natasha Woods and her son Tyler

Zoe, 27, who has two young children aged three and four, branded the room “disgusting” and said she needed a council home after being priced out of the private rental market.

They had to leave their flat in Sighthill after their landlord decided to sell, but had to move across the city to Leith to the B&B.

Now, after the Evening News stepped in, they are going back after the council found a home.

Zoe said: “I am so pleased to have finally been offered a flat in Sighthill – the exact area we wanted. I want to say a huge thank you to the Evening News because if it wasn’t for you, I would never have been offered the flat as quickly.”

After we told the family’s story yesterday, our social media channels were inundated with messages – from those telling of their own experiences in B&Bs to one reader even inviting them round for dinner.

Zoe said: “I’m so grateful for all the words of support on Facebook from everyone. I can’t believe how kind everyone has been. I hope our story highlights how large a problem temporary accommodation is in the city.”

Huge numbers of well-wishers offered their support to Zoe online yesterday, with Natasha Woods, 23, going one step further by throwing open her own doors offering a meal.

She said: “When I read the story about Zoe and the kids, my heart went out to them. I know exactly what it’s like living in that B&B, it’s just totally unacceptable.

“I also needed a council house because I couldn’t afford a deposit on a private let.

“I stayed in a B&B in October last year and one of my sons was only ten months old. It was just horrendous.

“Due to the lack of kitchen facilities I was being forced to buy fresh milk every day.”

Zoe’s story highlighted the scale of the housing crisis in the Capital, where, on September 30 last year, more than 1000 families were officially homeless.

Steve Burgess, housing councillor for the Green party said: “It’s reassuring that there have been so many kind offers to help Zoe and her family.

“It shows what a welcoming city Edinburgh is, and also an awareness that many of us may be only a couple of steps away from the kind of situation that Zoe has found herself in.

“Of course, the big priority for the council and other organisations in the city is to make sure that all the other families and people facing homelessness, like Zoe, are helped well in advance and can get access to affordable homes much more easily.”