Livingston mum with disabled son makes desperate plea to First Minister to stop family being evicted

A mum with a disabled son has made a desperate plea to the First Minister to stop her family being evicted, as MP says the eviction is a breach of guidance and the family’s human rights.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 1:17 pm
Lorraine Robinson-Mosely's video 'letter' to Nicola Sturgeon

Lorraine Robinson-Moseley made an emotional appeal to Nicola Sturgeon in a video message to stop her family being evicted, saying if they are forced out of their home it will be catastrophic for her son.

The mum and full-time carer for her son, 23, who has severe autism, said the family has been told they will be evicted tomorrow despite sheriff officers being advised not to carry out evictions in tier-4 areas.

Local MP Hannah Bardell insisted that the eviction is a breach of guidelines – and the family’s human rights.

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Ms Moseley’s son needs adapted accommodation and support team but it is not ready until the end of January, she said. In her video posted on Twitter she has asked the First Minister to step in to delay the eviction – and called on the Scottish Government to bring in a full ban on evictions to safeguard tenants during winter in lockdown.

The Scottish Government have said the eviction should not take place, according to current guidance.

Left in limbo the family are now terrified of facing Christmas out in the cold.

Campaigners and politicians have rallied behind them and issued an open letter calling on the Scottish government to introduce a full ban on evictions this winter, following a ban in England and Wales.

Support: Hannah Bardell

Lorraine, a former mental health nurse, said: “With my son’s conditions, it has taken us so long to find a suitable home and feel accepted, all we are asking for is a delay to the eviction to ensure my son’s new home will be ready for him. He has severe autism and has relapses. Social work have told us temporary accommodation would not be suitable for us. It's been a long road but my social worker has been very dedicated. Though there have been delays that were out of our control.”

"My sons medical team told us again this week that more time is needed so we need a reasonable adjustment to the date so we have a place to move to that is suitable for him. They said it would be catastrophic for him to move to a place that wasn’t able to meet his needs.”

“This is his future we are talking about here, eviction will cause him extreme emotional distress. My sons needs are complex but he also has the right just as any one else to be given the opportunities he is entitled to as a young man.

"We shouldn’t be moving during a pandemic where we are now self isolating through a noted tier 4 restriction area and where a covid-19 positive discovery was made in staff who are pulling together my sons inclusive living team. If this eviction goes ahead it would be putting my sons physical and mental wellbeing at extreme risk and would be dangerous. My son’s not able to social distance, wear a mask or take instructions from people he does not know and he also has no concept of danger, so safeguarding my son is of the utmost importance.”

Ms Bardell, MP for Livingston said: “It’s fair to say I’ve supported this family for some time and am now talking to the council. I will vigorously pursue this until we find a resolution. This is a clear breach of their human rights. Even if their house was ready the eviction is a clear breach of guidelines. But the reality is that the accommodation is not ready for them, for someone with complex needs. We simply can’t treat vulnerable people this way. I am horrified at this and will do everything I can to stop it. If it comes down to it, I will be there tomorrow with the family.”

A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “As soon as we were made aware of the eviction notice in 2019, we have been working extensively with the family to prevent a homelessness situation and to find housing solutions.

“This was very challenging as it involved finding two suitable separate homes in our attempts to meet the specific needs of the whole family.

“Significant adaptations have now been made to one of the properties and the families can move into the vacant properties when they choose to do so. A request for the addition of a garden room in one of the properties was received after the agreements were signed in March 2020. This work has now been agreed, and will be completed as soon as possible.”

A Scottish government spokesperson said: “We have just been given the details of this case today and recognise the anxiety the family feel. We are also aware that West Lothian Council has been working extensively to support this family and have stated that they have secured permanent accommodation which is ready to be moved into on Wednesday.

“We have made clear that we expect that during the pandemic landlords are flexible and work with their tenants to prevent evictions taking place, where that is possible.

“The Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers issued updated guidance to members on November 6 advising that evictions should not be carried out where a property is located in areas subject to level 3 or 4 restrictions, unless relating to antisocial or criminal behaviour. Therefore, that should apply in this case.”

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