Upper Norwood families to be left homeless after Metropolitan Police asks for flats back
EIGHT families living in former police flats are to be left homeless after the Met asked for the property back.
The families, who live in the South Bank building in Grange Road, Upper Norwood, have been told they will be evicted from the place some have called home for two decades by the end of 2013.
The building is owned by the Metropolitan Police and leased by Crown Housing Association.
Tina Hussien, 56, has lived in her flat since 1995. Suffering from severe psoriatic arthritis, she lives with her husband, an Iraqi refugee, and her granddaughter.
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She said: "Many years ago people from Crown Housing Association told us we didn't have to worry, that this would be our home for life, and now it's being taken away from us. I'm worried sick, we're going to be made homeless.
"I am not well and this is a debilitating illness and it will get worse. My GP has now prescribed me a wheelchair."
Mrs Hussien told the Advertiser it is not just her that she now has to think about, and is also worried for her granddaughter Lauren. She said: "Her mother is a heroin addict and this is the first time Lauren has had a bit of stability in her life."
Anthony Johnson, 55, has lived in his flat with wife Linda for 18 years. He said: "No one is giving us answers, Crown don't seem to care. This is our home, it's where we brought up our children, and now we have to go. We have memories here and it's our home, we don't want to leave."
Upper Norwood councillor Pat Ryan told the Advertiser he was disgusted with the treatment of the tenants.
He said: "I understand the police want it back to fund the front line, but what is more front line than keeping a home that families are used to living in?
"Some of those people have been living there for 20 years. There are people who are unwell, who are old, and the police are making them homeless. It's a tragedy."
Nick Wood, chief executive of Crown Housing Association, said: "The lease ends at the end of the year; there is nothing we can do about that. We have been told that it must be given back without tenants.
"Our job is to try and help tenants as much as we can, which is why we told them as early as we could of the situation, to give them a maximum chance of finding somewhere else."
A police spokesman said: "The land had been leased to Crown Housing Association to provide non-permanent accommodation for their own tenants who hold short-term leases.
"The lease to Crown is due to expire and the land must be returned by December 2013."