A woman and her three-year-old autistic son have been living in hotels for almost a year after Islington Council failed to find them a suitable home.

Rachel Thomas (not her real name) was first housed in a Travelodge in Finsbury Park in February 2022.

Since then she has been moved to two other Travelodges, one in Farringdon and one in Manor House, and has had to move room every month.

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Rachel said: “I was put in the hotel originally for a week, and then they said that they didn’t have anything permanent, so we’d be there for a month.

“But now I’ve been in hotels from February up until now.

“Every 28 days I have to move all my stuff. It’s a lot of moving around, it’s just very stressful.”

A letter seen by the Islington Gazette from a speech and language therapist at Whittington Health NHS Trust says the hotel environment is not suitable for Rachel’s son’s complex needs.

The letter highlights the fact that the hotel room door is a safety risk as it cannot be properly secured. This means that Rachel’s son, who has poor danger awareness, can open it.

The 24-year-old is worried about the effect living in hotels has had on her son's education.

She added: "My son goes to nursery in Finsbury Park. He has high needs and in the doctor's recommendations it says he can’t do public transport.

"I was put in Farringdon and he wasn’t able to go to nursery because it was so far. It’s held him back a hold year, he’s not made any progression."

Rachel said the council had offered her two permanent houses but that these were withdrawn after she appealed their allocation as they were unsuitable for her son’s needs.   

A letter seen by the Gazette from Islington Council’s principal appeals and complaints officer in July confirms that one of Rachel’s appeals was successful.

Cllr Una O’Halloran, executive member for homes and communities, said: “We are working hard to find suitable alternative accommodation for Ms Thomas and her son.

“Unfortunately, Ms Thomas is very specific about the type of property she wants. The two council properties offered to Ms Thomas were refused by Ms Thomas.

“We aim to offer a third property to Ms Thomas as soon as possible.

“As we are in the midst of a housing crisis, with more than 15,500 households on the council’s housing register, sadly we have been unable to provide a permanent solution immediately."

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