Brent Council restores Counihan family’s housing benefit

 

Brent  restores family's housing benefit after they put Galway field up for sale

Family says it is still going ahead with its Kilburn High Road demo this week-end

The Counihans, whose protests will continue, want to move back to Kilburn from Ealing The Counihans, whose protests will continue, want to move back to Kilburn from Ealing

 

 

Sean Moriarty

 

The London-based Irish family who were made homeless by Brent Borough Council in the summer have had their housing benefit restored.

The Counihan family from Kilburn were evicted from their council owned property in July after they declared inheriting a plot of near worthless land in County Galway.

The were invited to a rent review by Brent council officials in 2010 and to their horror were told as they had capital they were no longer entitled to benefit despite that fact that the land was only earning £18 per week.

They were also hit a £70,000 over payment bill – later reduced to £43,000 on appeal.

They were evicted by Brent Council in July and were re-housed in temporary accommodation in Ealing.

The family claim they were given bad advice from the council from the beginning and if they were given the correct advice in the first they would have never found themselves in a homeless situation.

The family have been trying since then to get the council’s decision reversed. They want to return to Kilburn , their five-year autistic child goes to school their and the current travelling arrangements are proving difficult and Anthony works as a bus driver at Cricklewood Bus Garage.

Since they got evicted they have been fighting to reverse  the council’s decision. The family have staged a series of protests including a sit in a the council’s chamber and protest marches on the Kilbun High Road.

The council did tell them to put the property on the open market to prove it was only worth a few thousand pounds and once they had that done their housing benefit situation would be looked at again.

The put the land on books of a Galway auctioneer last month and the council have now honoured their promise to reinstate the benefit.

It is a vestry of sorts according to mother of five Isabel.

She said: “We are due to appear before a housing tribunal soon and that will decide if we can get back to Kilburn or not.  It is great to have the housing benefit back but would never have been made homeless if they told us in the first place to put the land on the open market.  This line of mistakes has caused a lot of grief and stress to our family, I am on anti-depressants to help me cope, I won’t be celebrating this news until I find out if we can get back to Kiburn.”

The family and their supporters are staging another protest march on the Kilburn High Road this Saturday.

 

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