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‘In housing limbo’: Homeless Dagenham blaze family’s choice between somewhere to live or their pet dogs

PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 August 2018

Hazel Marshall with Shannon and Keeleigh. Pic: KEN MEARS

Hazel Marshall with Shannon and Keeleigh. Pic: KEN MEARS

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A family made homeless by a fire has to choose between keeping their dogs or finding somewhere to live.

Hazel has had Staffordshire bull terriers Chucky and Eeyore since they were puppies. Pic: KEN MEARSHazel has had Staffordshire bull terriers Chucky and Eeyore since they were puppies. Pic: KEN MEARS

Hazel Marshall, daughter Shannon, 16, and three-year-old granddaughter Bailey fled their home when the next-door blaze swept through a row of terraced houses in Roffe Gardens, Dagenham, last month.

“It was so scary. To stand there watching your home flooded and flames on the roof was a nightmare,” Ms Marshall said.

The family won’t get their home back for eight months while water damage gets repaired.

They now sleep on the floor of a neighbour’s house while their landlord – Home Group – searches for temporary accommodation.

The family were forced to flee their home after a fire broke out next door. Pic: KEN MEARSThe family were forced to flee their home after a fire broke out next door. Pic: KEN MEARS

But the housing charity has told them they don’t have a suitable place available.

It offered them somewhere in Barnet but the family turned it down because Hazel – who suffers from chronic lung disease – has to travel to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, for regular check ups.

Home Group suggested the family part with pet Staffies Chucky and Eeyore so they could get them into a hotel.

“I feel properly depressed. I can’t put them in kennels. It would kill the oldest. I’ve had her for 13 years,” Hazel said.

The 46-year-old added that she has a daughter in Canning Town but with six kids and her own dogs there wasn’t space. Her dad died two years ago and the family is estranged from Hazel’s mum.

“If we didn’t have the neighbours, I don’t know where we’d be. Bailey is very scared. An ambulance called last night and she ran inside in hysterics. [The fire] really scared her,” a tearful Hazel said.

Hazel’s brother-in-law Tony Anthony said: “My sister is left in housing limbo.”

A Home Group spokesman said the charity offered to pay an allowance for them to stay with friends or relatives or pay for the family to stay in a hotel or private rented sector.

He added Home Group would only pay for the dogs to go in kennels if the family chose to go to a property or hotel which didn’t accept pets. “This remains first and foremost the family’s choice,” he added. “We remain focused on getting them another suitable four bedroom property, but have explained this type of property is incredibly difficult to source.”


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