Dagenham man diagnosed with two types of cancer fears homelessness

Robert Agombar with his partner Paige Smith

Robert Agombar with his partner Paige Smith - Credit: Archant

A young man who has been diagnosed with two types of cancer fears he will end up homeless unless the council provides him with shelter.

Robert Agombar, 22, currently lives in a privately rented one bedroom flat in Hepworth Court, Dagenham, with his girlfriend Paige Smith.

But the couple are facing homelessness as they cannot afford to renew their rent contract, which comes to an end on May 27.

Robert, who was diagnosed with skin cancer in November and Thyroid cancer in January, said turning to the council was an unfortunate last resort.

“I was forced to leave my job as a machines operator after I became ill,” he explained. “We haven’t been able to pay our rent for the last couple of months and we need to be re-housed.

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“It’s not that I don’t want to work – I can’t work. I didn’t want to turn to the council but I’ve had no choice.

A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham council confirmed that the couple has started receiving housing benefits to help pay their rent – but Robert claims that their assistance is not enough to cover the cost of his housing needs.

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He said: “Our rent is £795, I get £378 a month in Statutory Sick Pay and £73.51 a week in housing benefit.

“It doesn’t cover our rent and leaves us with nothing to live on.”

Paige, who has also had to leave work to care for Robert, said she is worried the couple will have to turn to emergency accommodation.

She said: “We won’t be able to stay in certain places like hostels because Robert has a very low immune system.

“I do not know what else to do. Time is ticking and I am doing everything in my power to try and encourage the council to make me and my partner a priority.

“The last thing I want is for the 27th to come and we have nowhere to go.”

A spokesman for the council said: “We can confirm that Housing Benefit has been awarded and is being paid directly to the landlord backdated to 16th February 2015 when they claimed.

“Like any other person on the housing waiting list they can present any medical evidence from a GP if their circumstances have since changed.”

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