Disabled mum ‘beyond breaking point’ with temporary accommodation 45 miles from Thanet

Mary* is 'beyond breaking point'

A disabled mum-of-three who fled domestic violence says she is beyond breaking point after being placed in temporary housing in Chatham, some 45 miles away from her family in Thanet.

Mary* ( as a victim of domestic abuse we are not revealing her identity) has ADHD, Dyspraxia, connective tissue disorder, is autistic and almost seven months pregnant.

Her three children all have extra needs with the elder two diagnosed with autism and her youngest also suspected to be autistic. They all suffer ‘loose joints’ and are currently home-schooled because of the difficulties of accessing school placements.

Mary applied to Thanet council last September to be housed as someone fleeing domestic violence from another area. Her family live on the isle and she only lived out of area due to marriage.

The application was accepted but due to limited temporary accommodation resources in Thanet, Mary and her children were placed in a Paramount property in Chatham.


Mary says the property has had issues with mould, damp, rodents and is unsuitable for people with disabilities.

She said: “When I was originally accepted for interim housing pending investigations into my eligibility I was told on the phone that I would be placed in emergency housing for up to 8 weeks then moved into temporary housing until suitable housing became available and that this could take up to two years.

“I was told I may have to be housed out of area for a short period but that I would be a priority to be moved back in area due to my family’s vulnerabilities and our high need for a robust support network.

“I was not shown the property before I had to sign the acceptance form for the emergency accommodation.

“We have been placed in Chatham, roughly 45 miles from Thanet and all of my support network. Although I drive my children often need another adult in the back of the car as they will undo seatbelts and kick at windows whilst distressed, it is an hour’s drive one way. None of my family drive. They all work or have caring responsibilities within Thanet so them being able to make a two hour round trip on public transport is near impossible.

“Caring for three high needs children with my own disabilities was difficult but I managed in my original home with a great support network to lean on when i needed it and so my family were fully independent.

“Now I can’t get my children out on my own even to get essentials so I am often too scared to take them anywhere as without support it is too dangerous. My middle child often needs two adults to keep him safe. There have been many occasions where I have been trapped in shops, or car parks for hours where I am having to restrain one of them for their safety, or simply trying to get them back in the car and home safely. This is because their meltdowns are extremely volatile and I have no one to help me. We have currently been in our emergency housing for 6 months and are beyond breaking point.”


Mary says she cannot access the gas meter as it is down an extremely steep concrete staircase with no rail and when the boiler stops working her family has to wait days for it to be fixed despite all suffering from asthma. She says the conditions are making her family ill and her repeated efforts to get issues fixed such as damp and mould are fruitless. She also says she has complained about rodents and that there are also blue bottles which she thinks are due to dead rodents under the floorboards.

She added: “It has become so desperate I have been begging to be placed temporarily even in a 1 bed property as overcrowding would be preferable to complete isolation with dangerous housing conditions. Most of my emails go ignored.”

Mary says there are also problems with the front door, which she has been unable to deadlock, and her six-year-old son lets himself out and gets on to a busy A road.

She added: “My children have already faced a huge amount of trauma having to completely abandon our past life and I have been diagnosed with PTSD. I feel broken. I just want to protect my children and the situation I have been placed in makes it impossible.

“I feel like I am constantly failing them and am in constant fear that something catastrophic will happen. My mental health has taken a huge hit and I have been detained in a psychiatric holding unit for days whilst wanting to end my life where I can’t keep my children safe, family have had to temporarily care for my children during this time.

“I’ve lost all hope that anyone is going to be able to help us. I just want to start rebuilding a life and provide a safe future for my children.”

Mary is being supported by a new partner but they do not live in the same property. He has been trying to liaise with the various agencies on her behalf but says a number of incidents at the property lead him to believe it is now a safeguarding issue.


A spokesperson for Paramount said: “Paramount can confirm that we provide various types of properties to local authorities across the South East.  We are unable comment on a client’s housing application or where a client is housed, this is a Local Authority decision.

“The property had a minor damp issued caused by a blocked gutter which was unreported by (Mary*), but found to be the cause of the issue by a Paramount surveyor.  This has now been resolved along with some remedial works.

“Having spoken to (her) partner he has confirmed this is no longer an issue.  The utility meters for the property are located in the cellar which is common for this type of property, if the household are unable to top up their meters due to a physical disability/mobility issue Paramount are happy to discuss this further with them.

“At present we understand that (her) partner frequents the property often so we would suggest that it might be prudent for him to top the meters up in the interim, if the rest of the household are unable to.

“We can also confirm there are no signs of mould in the property as confirmed by (her) partner recently, there have been no recent sightings of rodents since a hole was blocked a few weeks ago, although (her) partner has said he believes he heard a mouse recently.   A Paramount staff member is instructed to attend to the property to carry out a further investigation.”

Thanet council

A Thanet council spokesperson added: “All temporary accommodation provided is expected to meet a minimum standard of repair and comply with all necessary health and safety requirements. If there is an issue with temporary accommodation the tenant should contact the landlord or property manager. We work with a number of landlords who help us to provide temporary accommodation.

“When we have accepted a homeless application and have a duty to provide temporary accommodation, we make every effort to ensure that this is provided within Thanet. In cases where there is nothing available locally we work to arrange accommodation back in the district as soon as possible, as we understand how disruptive it can be to have to move away from the support of family, friends, schools and work.

“Temporary accommodation is provided until the household is either successful in bidding for a social rented tenancy on our housing register, or finds an alternative private sector home. We have a high demand for housing assistance and only a limited amount of temporary accommodation available to us.

“We cannot comment on individual circumstances, but will always support people who require assistance, and liaise with other services and agencies to ensure anyone who is vulnerable gets the help they need.”

Temporary accommodation

Thanet council provides in-house temporary accommodation at Foy House in Margate which provides eight self-contained 1 and 2 bedroom flats for individuals and families with urgent housing needs, who are being supported by the council.

Last year £2.2m was agreed for the council’s capital programme for a second temporary accommodation  project following the success of Foy House. A proposal has been made by Thanet council to buy Glendevon House in Ramsgate to replicate the Foy House project although a planning application for change of use to a house of multiple occupation is currently withdrawn.

The council also bought the former Oasis refuge in Edgar Road, with the final tranche of funding from the Cliftonville intervention programme (Live Margate) with the intention of converting to a further 16 homes.

The property is being used by the RISE homelessness service for rough sleeping support, with combined services on site until March 2025 with the housing project planned to start on site for the conversion works in April 2025.

As of 25th January this year, there were 288 Thanet households in temporary accommodation. Of those, 171 households were placed outside of Thanet.

Get advice

Shelter England

Citizens Advice


Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277


  1. Much as I sympathise (Chatham is vile!), why did she get pregnant with a fourth child when both her and her three children have so many problems?

    • There are many simple answers to the question Pinky. Free speech is closely scrutinised these days that I’ll keep my opinion to my self.
      I’m sure you get my drift.

        • Careful! There are many readers on this platform just looking out to call something a ‘Hate Crime’. We’re now living in a upside-down world which, quite frankly I find difficult to tolerate in today’s society. Since I and a good few on here were raised to be good mannered and respect others. Rarely observed nowadays, sadly.

    • This is the downside of living in a world with so many human rights, freedom of choice, etc., etc.

      It also beats me as to why a person with disabilities who has already given birth to three children with disabilities should then go on to have a fourth child – more especially when they are in an unstable and dysfunctional relationship.

      Is it any wonder that social services are overstretched and there is no accommodation available in her chosen area ?

  2. I know of one family who has been moved from the London area to one of the new houses at Westwood due to domestic violence.
    Why doesn’t Thanet Council do the same for this lady. Ms Pink it’s very common for women in a domestic violence relationship to become pregnant their abusers to not ask if they can have sex they often just rape the woman if she resists they are beaten. So don’t be so naive.

    • Ann I fully agree with you on the way men just take what they want when they are in a violent relationship to their women.
      But it’s a possibility that she may be carrying her new partners baby as the dates given in first few paragraphs allow time to separated from her ex. Especially if she was shown love and kindness when meeting someone new. To me would be silly thing to do especially knowing what her ex was like, hopefully she has found someone who is going to treat her as human not a punch bag no woman deserves to be a punch bag.

  3. She has probably been moved to get her away from the violent partner. Unfortunately she is suffering being away from her support network but it’s a bit better than living in fear of violence from a bitter ex.

    Is it right?? No

    But is it right for her safety right now?? Yes

    • A bit daft revealing online that she’s in Chatham. Surely she’d be safer if she kept her location secret?

  4. Years ago I found out my sister was being abused by her partner so I went to see him and gave him two options one would have been painful to him the other was move out of the area and keep away from my sister. Sensibly he chose to move out of the area.
    I will not tolerate bullying in my school days if I saw any bullying I bashed up the bully’s. Always using the element of surprise. I’m a kind caring person until I come across a bully then I’m not nice at all. Men who beat women in domestic violence should be jailed and put on a name and shame register for life like sex offenders

    • Surely bashing up the bully’s is bullying, and using the element of surprise could be classes as G. B. H. or even worse. Why not invite them into a boxing ring, or another regulated fighting establishment, if they refuse then you know what they are like and can play on that situation.

      • I think you forgot to mention that Women who beat men should also be jailed, or do you not think so ?

  5. Paul, anyone who commits domestic violence to their partner should be jailed and placed on a domestic violence register.
    All acts of violence are bad but to be carrying In out behind closed doors in a domestic setting should be considered very serious and punished accordingly no matter if they are male or female.

  6. Yes I could explain, however, I won’t fall into that trap on this platform.

    I’ll leave it there. Thank you.

    • Possibly because too many people on here are spoiling for an argument with anyone that has a different opinion to theirs.
      I would be very grateful if a friend or family member had been provided with a place of safety that got them away from any abuse.

  7. Thank you Ann for spelling out why this lady may well have found herself pregnant. Sabotaging contraception or refusing to use it to get a woman pregnant is a form of coersion and would be beyond her control if he were raping her. Domestic violence is rarely just physical and often includes sexual, financial and emotional abuse. I agree that it’s crazy to say she’s living in Chatham as her circumstances and diagnoses are quite unique and would make her easily identifiable to her ex- or someone seeking to abuse a vulnerable family.

    • Why was her location even mentioned in this report? As you say, it would be easy for the people who know her to work out her true identity.

      • Because location was the main issue she wanted to raise and because I know details that are relevant for the editorial decisions made about what to include and what not to include.

  8. It may be naive to suggest this lady is being moved to Chatham, therefor disclosing her location, which would mean she is not in danger of abuse from the children’s father(s). So where are the father(s)? Surely they should be providing for the children?

  9. It’s nothing unusual to be rehomed out of the area for long periods of time. It makes no difference if you are vulnerable and have disabilities. At least it is a place to live which is better than being on the street.
    I have a relative who is a young vulnerable single adult with ASD and Autism who was sent out of Thanet by TDC to live on his own when he needs the support of his family. His routines were broken making his anxiety much worse when he became homeless. He knows nobody in the area he has been sent, was given no transport or help to get there either. There are thousands of reasons for TDC not to send people out of the area, but they are not there to care, they are there to home as many as they have the homes for that need them. It would be nice though if they did bring them back into the area they have grown up in and know their way around in as soon as possible but that is not happening as much as it should do. He has been out of the area 12 months now which was supposed to be a temporary thing. Before that he was homeless in Thanet sleeping on sofas for 18 months before TDC eventually took notice of his social worker, they had kept saying he was not entitled to their help whenever he spoke to them himself. It must happen a lot.
    I know people try to jump the queue with making up all sorts of issues and excuses though. He hasn’t done that, he is being patient, but being anxious for so long is not good for anyone’s health.
    It is a sad situation that the Country is in such a dire situation with endless amounts of people being allowed to enter with the expectancy of a home and cash waiting for them. That does not help those already waiting for homes locally.

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