By Burak Gülşen and Michael Daventry
A LONDON COUNCIL has apologised to a Turkish woman after she claimed it offered to take her son into care to solve her housing problems.
Southwark Council said it was “very sorry for the confusion and distress” caused to Berna Kilich after she was suddenly evicted from her council home without notice last week.
Ms Kilich told Londra Gazete the locks were changed and her possessions removed from the bedsit in New Cross, South London, despite her being told she could remain there until she found a permanent place to stay. She had been offered the bedsit as emergency accommodation in November last year.
The Turkish Cypriot mother added that the stress of her housing situation had taken its toll on her 10-year-old son, Murat, who is suffering noticeable hair loss.
“I told the council about how our problems were affecting him, but they told me I should leave Murat with social services until I found somewhere to live,” she said.
“I told them that I would give my life but never my son.”
REHOUSED THIS WEEK
After they were suddenly evicted on 21 January, Ms Kilich and Murat were forced to seek refuge at the home of a local Turkish Cypriot woman she had met just three months previously.
But following inquiries by Londra into Ms Kilich’s case, the council said the eviction was due to a “miscommunication” and would provide her and her son with a home at once.
Southwark Council’s cabinet member for housing, Ian Wingfield, said: “We are very sorry for the confusion and distress we have caused to Ms Kilich, which was due to a miscommunication.
“We have a duty to ensure that anyone with a young child has somewhere to stay in an emergency, even if they are not eligible for housing as in Ms Kilich’s case.
“We will look into this issue and we have arranged for temporary accommodation to be reinstated immediately for Ms Kilich and her son in the period before her private accommodation becomes available.”
Ms Kilich and her son were moving into her new temporary home as Londra went to press on Wednesday night.
Sources close to the children’s department said they would never offer a mother a deal to take their child away temporarily.