Furious dad vows to take council to court after being kicked off housing waiting list

A dad living in a cramped flat with his two children says he will take his local council to court in a bid to get a new home for his family.

Anthony Brathwaite has shared the one-bedroom home with his disabled son and daughter, both aged 11, since May 2019 when his marriage broke down.

Last year, Lewisham Council twice tried to evict the 39-year-old after officials ruled he was not eligible for council housing.

The council’s efforts were unsuccessful after housing campaigners and community groups blocked entry to the property.

A year on and they are still inside the cramped home and Mr Braithwaite wants Lewisham to put him back on the list for a council home.

In his desperation Anthony plans to take the council to court, according to My London.

He said: “The only way I’m going to get back on that list is if I take the council to court and the judge decides to put me on the bidding system. It’s about me being treated fairly.

“I shouldn’t have been made to feel how I have been made to feel. It’s like you are a child. They give you something, but because they are bigger they can take it away.

“My daughter is now at secondary school. It’s hard for her when she comes home if she has homework to do because it’s just one room.

“It causes anxiety to her not having the space and knowing Lewisham has tried to evict us from the property.”

The dad-of-two moved out of his former home – a council property in his name – in 2017 after his marriage broke down.

Lewisham Council then offered him and his two children temporary accommodation in 2018.

While living there he was placed on the council’s housing waiting list, which meant he could bid for more suitable properties for his family.

But in June last year, Mr Brathwaite received a letter from Lewisham Council informing him that officials had ruled he had made himself intentionally homeless when he had left the home he shared with his ex-wife in 2017.

He was handed an eviction letter and kicked off Lewisham’s council housing waiting list.

Mr Brathwaite said: “They said I made myself homeless but I never understood what the phrase ‘intentionally homeless’ meant.

“There was my mental health and the relationship broke down and because I am a man they feel you can fall on your feet and keep going. But it’s not the case.

“They offered me private accommodation in Greenwich but it was £1,300 per month, without bills and council tax included. In the job I’m in I’m not earning that kind of money.

“People say ‘is it not easier to go on benefits?’ but I don’t want my children to think that’s what life is.”

Mr Brathwaite has launched a fundraiser to raise money to cover the legal fees for his court battle against the council.

Supporters have so far donated £1,302, just over a fifth of Mr Brathwaite’s £5,000 target.

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “There is not an impending eviction against Mr Brathwaite.

“We are working with Mr Brathwaite to support him to move into permanent housing in the private rented sector, as he is not eligible for social housing.

“With over 10,000 households on our housing waiting list, we have to prioritise our limited supply of social housing for those most in need.

“We work closely with residents who are not eligible for social housing to help them to find alternative accommodation and ensure they have a safe and secure place to live.”