A couple have been forced to live in their car after being made homeless, saying they feel “degraded” by their new heartbreaking lifestyle.
They have been bedding down in the Audi for over a week – with only blankets, pillows, medication and a few appliances they cannot even use.
The couple sleep by putting a blanket up to block out light from the front window and then lay the front seats back covered in pillows and blankets.
The car is parked up overnight where they can find a spot – and they use public toilets and service stations to wash.
Friday Quick’s nightmare began in March when the 50-year-old and her two sons, who were renting a property, were issued with a Section 21 notice which allows landlords to evict a tenant without giving a reason.
They were told that the landlord’s situation had changed and that he may need to sell the house in Chatham, Kent.
The family were given until July 8 to move out.
While her sons were able to move, Ms Quick was unable to find somewhere new.
Her partner, Richard Warrior, moved in with her and the pair constantly applied for flats through the council, privately, and were put on multiple waiting lists.
But they were constantly turned down due to their financial situation and lack of a guarantor leading them to be evicted and made homeless on Thursday October 27.
Ms Quick said: “I have never had a Section 21 before so did not know the process. I went to Citizens’ Advice for help.
“I was given a housing officer. My sons moved out and one made their own housing application to the council. I could not get a house as I did not meet the criteria. The fact we are homeless should be criteria enough. It has been a bit of a hellish few months.”
With nowhere left to turn, the pair were forced to live in their car. They have been paying for a storage locker to house most of their possessions but this is becoming increasingly unaffordable.
Ms Quick said: “We’ve got a few things in the boot like extra pillows just in case, but everything – my whole life – is in that lock-up.
“I know we will have to downsize and get rid of some of it, but we may end up losing all of it because we can’t afford to keep it there.”
The mum-of-two said: “It is degrading. It is the simple things like going to the toilet.
“We have been living off sandwiches, crisps and fruit so we are not starving. We have just bought a flask so we can have hot water.
“We had fish and chips the other day as a treat. It was the first hot meal we had had since we were evicted.”
Mr Warrior, 49, added: “We’ve got nothing we can cook on at all.
“Where we are living is not safe, we do not feel safe when we are sleeping.
“We are going to start losing that locker soon. That is all her possessions, we would lose them. All her life is in that storage locker. It is degrading. When we look at what we had and what we have now got.”
They have both continued to look for places to live, but say they are stuck in a continual cycle of obstacles and cannot see a way out.
Since March, they have looked at more than 50 homes.
They have been speaking with Medway Council and estate agents to secure a property but each time they are met with disappointment.
Ms Quick said many landlords will not take them as they aim to pay the deposit and first months rent through a Private Rented Sector (PRS) Scheme.
PRS is a council programme which helps people secure privately rented accommodation by providing support to those having difficulty with their finances or threatened with homelessness.
Despite the council helping them with the PRS scheme, they were told that they didn’t meet the criteria for emergency accommodation.
Ms Quick said: “It’s degrading and I have completely lost faith in the whole system. We’ve worked in this country, lived, born raised in this county and never asked for help, and now that we need it we can’t get it.”
Both are currently unemployed. While Mr Warrior is going to the job centre regularly and receives benefits, they still cannot afford to put down a payment without the council’s help.
Mr Warrior was working as a fencer but was let go due to a lack of available work, while Ms Quick has been out of work for two years due to her health.
All the income they get goes towards food, petrol, car tax and insurance. Ms Quick said: “It is like a kick in the teeth. I never thought I would be in this situation. It is so frustrating. I am really not coping with it.”
Mr Warrior, a dad-of-four, added: “We just want somewhere safe to live that is all we are asking for.
“We just want a place we can call home and just enjoy our lives. It would be a better situation than being couped up in a six ft space.”
Although not able to speak on their case specifically, Medway Council explained the support it offers to people who find themselves homeless.
A spokesman said: “We are committed to helping Medway’s residents who have nowhere to live.
“We commission a range of accommodation and support for people with nowhere to live and work with a range of partners in the private and social housing sectors to help prevent residents from becoming homeless, this includes providing financial support.
“In line with national guidance, residents can also apply to be on our housing register. We assess everyone’s circumstances and prioritise those with greater housing needs; this includes people who are homeless or have medical needs.
“We would encourage anyone who is homeless, or who is at risk of becoming homeless to visit Kingsley House in Gillingham to access the specialist advice and support available to them.”
Ms Quick added: “We’d be happy with just a one-bedroom flat.
“Just somewhere that we can shut the door and feel like we can call ours and not be worried that we’re going to lose everything.”