Woman Moves Into Tent After Losing Job At McDonald's During Lockdown
A woman who could no longer cover her rent after losing her job at McDonald's is now living in a tent in the woods.
Melissa Norman, 34, from Torquay, Devon, was asked to leave the hostel she was staying in when she lost her job after being furloughed from McDonald's and is now living in a tent with her partner.
She said Torbay Council was 'not willing to help' her because she was not homeless when she informed them of her imminent circumstances.
She has been working at the McDonald's branch in Torquay for over a year and moved into a local hostel where she was paying £100 ($130) per week rent.
Ms Norman said: "I moved into the hostel just before lockdown. I then got furloughed and lost my job at McDonald's and didn't have enough money to carry on paying the rent."
Melissa phoned Torbay Council the day before she had to be out of the hostel, informing them of the situation.
She said: "Because I was housed at the time when I told them, they are not willing to help me. I have been in a tent for over a week.
"The council have told me I am on a waiting list but it could take up to one year to house me. I've worked since I was 16 years old, paid all of my taxes. I think it is disgusting."
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Ms Norman added: "The council need to open their eyes and put money into community centres, there is nowhere to even drop into to have a shower.
"It is not just me this is a wider problem. How can anyone get out of this situation when there is little help?"
A spokesperson for Torbay Council said: "We are seeing a huge increase in demand for our Housing Options service and our team are working extremely hard to secure temporary accommodation for those who need it."
In order to get food and winter provisions, Ms Norman has been relying on People Assisting Torbay's Homeless (PATH), a local community group which helps those at risk of homelessness.
PATH founder Kath Friedrich said there had been an increase in homelessness following the outbreak of coronavirus. She said: "People are coming to us in eye-watering numbers.
"Torbay Council have a number you can call if you are going to be homeless, but when you ring nothing really happens until someone can verify that you are actually on the streets, so that person will end up sleeping rough. It can take a while.
"It is getting colder and we have no winter provision as of yet. Normally, we would get sleeping bags from festivals such as Glastonbury, but with festivals cancelled this year we have none."
Featured Image Credit: Devon Live/BPM Media
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