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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 August, 2004, 08:07 GMT 09:07 UK
Homeless family threaten action
The Hobbs family
The Hobbs family have been in bed and breakfast for 10 weeks
A family of six in Cornwall who have been living in one tiny room in bed and breakast for 10 weeks are threatening to take their local council to court.

Steve Hobbs, his wife and four children say it has been an appalling experience to be caught up in the housing crisis.

Kerrier Council accepts it is breaking the law by keeping families in guest houses for more than six weeks, but says properties are not available.

It says it is working extremely hard to avoid using bed and breakfast rooms.

The council officers are trying their hardest to find alternative accommodation, but perhaps there isn't the accommodation available
Geoff Kitchener, Shelter

But Mr Hobbs said he had spotted several buildings boarded up in the area which were going to waste.

"If the council hasn't got the money to do something with them, then maybe the government should put the money into it.

"This sort of thing shouldn't be happening at all. The way we are being treated is terribly wrong. People shouldn't have to go through this."

The room in which the Hobbs family are living
Six members of the Hobbs family are living in a small room

Geoff Kitchener, from Shelter, said: "The council officers are trying their hardest to find alternative accommodation, but perhaps there isn't the accommodation available in the Camborne, Redruth and Helston area that there is in other areas.

"They are finding it hard to encourage landlords to let their homes for slightly less than the market value, even though it's guaranteed income and they are guaranteed to get the property back at least in as good condition as when they let it.

"What the council needs is more money to be able to pay slightly more."

Mr Kitchener said the only action open to the family to change their situation was to take action against the council through judicial review to make it meet its mandatory requirements.

But he added: "That has potential problems of its own as they could then be offered alternative accommodation out of the area."

The BBC's Andrea Ormsby
"For 10 weeks the Hobbs family have been squashed into one tiny room"

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