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Grieving Parents Fear Being Forced Out Of Family Home
7:01am 8th January 2014
A Cornish family mourning the death of their son on the way to school are told they will have to downsize or pay the so-called bedroom tax - because they now have a spare room.
Eleven year old Caleb Hollow lost his life almost exactly a year ago as he crossed a busy road in Hayle to catch the bus.
He was airlifted to Treliske and then Bristol with a serious brain injury. Doctors placed him in an induced coma as they fought to save him.
He was buried with the Arsenal strip he had asked Father Christmas for before he died.
Now mum Dawn has told Pirate FM they have been through enough: "It's been a tough year for us and this Christmas has been really, really hard. Then to receive this letter was just shocking, absolutely shocking.
"It's not just our family home. When it was built it was my nan's house, my parents starting off when they were married in that house. Now they are saying we have to pay bedroom tax or downsize."
At the moment the government expects her other children, Ashton and Eva, to share a room but, in a few years time, the rules mean the boy and girl will need to be separated again.
Dawn fears that could mean more upheaval: "We've been through so much - the children too - and to uproot and then to have to move again in five years time... the children have been through enough. We all have."
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Housing said: "We understand Mrs Chapman's concerns and we are committed to assisting all our residents who are affected by the implementation of the Government's welfare reforms.
"As a result of the Under Occupation Penalty which is part of these reforms Cornwall Council have applied the amended Housing Benefit regulations and reduced Mrs Chapman's Housing Benefit by 14% or just under £13 a week. This reduction took effect last month and the total amount charged to date is just under £38.
"Our teams have been in contact with Mrs Chapman to provide advice on how to apply to Cornwall Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment and we will continue to work closely with the family to explore a longer term solution that is acceptable to them.
"On a broader level, we have been working for several months to support residents affected by the Under Occupation Penalty helping them move home should they wish or assisting them with budgeting advice in order to remain in their currenet property.
"We've worked hard to keep our residents informed and supported over this period of change and will continue to work with people to ensure they have a suitable, affordable place to live, supporting families in every way we can."7:01am 8th January 2014
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