Herne Bay mum with baby boy placed in ‘mouldy’ temporary accommodation in Ashford by Canterbury City Council

A single mother with a four-month-old baby says she would rather sleep in a car than in the “disgusting” temporary accommodation provided by the town hall.

Jade Connor and little Michael, both of Bay of Herneare now homeless after rejecting the planned ‘musty’ room in Ashford.

Jade Connor, from Herne Bay, and baby Michael have been placed in temporary accommodation in Ashford by Canterbury City Council

Miss Connor and her son were placed in Ashford Central Guest House in Wellesley Road by Canterbury City Council on October 12 – but she was released within two hours.

She claims it was “not made for a dog” and took photos showing the extent of the dampness, as well as electrical wires sticking out of the wall.

The city council said the 25-year-old had been warned that if she refused the room, her obligation to provide temporary accommodation would end.

But she said KentOnline“I was ready to stay until I found the mould.

“I’ve had health issues before so I’m petrified of what could happen to me or Michael.

Wires stick out of the wall in the bedroom at Ashford Central Guest House.  Picture: Jade Connor
Wires stick out of the wall in the bedroom at Ashford Central Guest House. Picture: Jade Connor

“I’d rather sleep in my friend’s car than in a moldy apartment with my baby.”

The former Herne Bay High student suffers from Graves’ disease – a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid, causing it to become overactive.

It has already affected her chances of getting pregnant, having had a stillbirth last year because of the issue.

Miss Connor says her son ‘immediately started crying’ when they arrived in the bedroom a fortnight ago.

“The first thing I saw were dodgy electrical appliances – then there was mold,” she said.

Jade Connor recorded a video as she touched the wall of Ashford Central Guest House, the residue coming off the wall onto her fingers
Jade Connor recorded a video as she touched the wall of Ashford Central Guest House, the residue coming off the wall onto her fingers

“I touched the wall and felt the residue come off the wall due to the humidity.

“It’s not made for a dog. It was absolutely disgusting.

After she left, Miss Connor said a housing official wrote to confirm she would no longer be offered temporary accommodation.

But the mother-of-one says the council should do more given her situation – and is upset that she cannot start taking the next steps in her life.

Miss Connor said: ‘This council offer came out of nowhere. I tried for months to get help finding accommodation.

Damp on a wall at Ashford Central Guest House.  Picture: Jade Connor
Damp on a wall at Ashford Central Guest House. Picture: Jade Connor

“Then the first place we go is covered in mold and damp. I feel really disappointed.

“The thing is, I would take anywhere in Kent. Location isn’t a problem – but mold is.

Miss Connor has been out of work since June last year. She had to quit her job as a caregiver as she struggled with her health and the loss of a child.

She relies on universal credit and the kindness of her friends and family to make ends meet, having been homeless since before Michael was born.

But she says she is desperate to get back to work and hopes to one day become a social worker.

Jade lasted two hours in the room at Ashford Central Guest House
Jade lasted two hours in the room at Ashford Central Guest House

“I want to work. I don’t want to have to live with food banks and Universal Credit,” Miss Connor said.

“And I would like to be able to take the first steps towards becoming a social worker.

“But I can’t do that when every night I have to wander the streets.”

Miss Connor was taken in aged 13 – and her former foster family have now taken in baby Michael. But she knows that’s not a viable long-term option.

“They really took care of Michael. I’m so grateful to have them,” she said.

Canterbury City Council said it warned Miss Connor she would not be offered alternative placements
Canterbury City Council said it warned Miss Connor she would not be offered alternative placements

“But it’s not fair to leave my child with them all the time. They have young children living there, and they are not getting any younger.

“They are doing their best but I cannot ask them to continue to take care of me and Michael.”

The town council says it is working with Miss Connor to try to find a long-term solution to her housing needs.

“Miss Connor told us of her concerns about the state of the room [at Ashford Central Guest House]”said a spokesperson.

“Although it was agreed with her that she would stay and that we would look into these matters the next morning, she then decided not to stay the night.

A photo Jade Connor took of the bedroom at Ashford Central Guest House
A photo Jade Connor took of the bedroom at Ashford Central Guest House

“She was aware that if she did not use the room that had been found for her, our obligation to provide temporary accommodation would end, and that is what happened.

“We want to be clear that we have not removed Miss Connor from any accommodation.

“We continue to work with her and are looking into long-term options to suit her housing needs, as well as referring her to other relevant services for additional support.”

But Miss Connor says she hasn’t received ‘anything’ from the council in the past two weeks.

“So at the moment I am still homeless and have not received any updates or further help from the council,” she said.

“All I want is to be able to get help and give my baby a good start in life – something we can call home.

“Because right now there is no life to live.”

Bosses at Ashford Central Guest House did not respond to KentOnline’s requests for comment.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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