Tent couple refuse help from council

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A couple have been living in a tent in Ilkeston for two months.

Diane Linney, 36, and Michael Gehan set up camp on land off Critchley Street, behind Tesco after being evicted from their homes.

Ms Linney, 36, was evicted from her flat after problems caused by a family member while Mr Gehan said he had been living with his brother but was evicted.

Ms Linney said it was their dog, Tie, that was keeping her going.

She said the pair had been subject to a deal of abuse including Mr Gehan having a brick thrown at his head and the tent being slashed by youths.

She said the couple had dealt with the cold by setting the tent up on insulating cardboard and filling the tent with a mattress and blankets.

She said: “We get people shouting abuse and then you get people trying to help. One girl has come to bring food out to us a couple of times.”

Ms Linney said they had been advised by “the council” to find private rented accommodation.

But she said: “Because I’ve been evicted they [private landlords] don’t want to know.”

Mr Gehan said: “We didn’t expect to be here that long but nothing has panned out.”

Nick Thurstan, Erewash Borough Council’s Head of Environment and Housing Services: “The council has been aware of these individuals since December 2015. They have been interviewed and offered temporary accommodation which they have refused.

“The council has also assisted them in finding private rented accommodation but they refused the first unit offered and the second unit was withdrawn by the landlord.

“Staff from No Second Night Out (an initiative to deal with rough sleeping) have visited the couple on several occasions and offered bed spaces but these have also been refused.

“The council is continuing to work with the couple and have left messages asking them to come into the office to discuss their current situation. If they attend they will be offered temporary accommodation and a homeless application will be taken in respect of the female.”