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Move to Birmingham, family told
A SINGLE father faces moving to Birmingham with his five-year-old daughter because there is nowhere for him to live in Oxford.
Jason Stone, who is living in emergency housing in Marlborough Road, was told by Oxford City Council it cannot provide him with any permanent housing locally.
He said: “What they are trying to say is that there’s no properties anywhere for people in Oxford, and that I have got no choice but to move to Birmingham.
“I was born in Oxford and my daughter Ashlie was born here and we don’t want to leave. To uproot my life and my child’s life to go to Birmingham is just not an option.”
Councils can send homeless people to live in other cities if they cannot find a suitable private rental property cheap enough to be managed on benefits.
Mr Stone has sole custody of his daughter, and also has a young son whom he looks after during the day.
Under new housing benefit caps, Mr Stone says he is entitled to £825.80 per calendar month and had found a two-bed house in Rose Hill for £950 a month.
He says he was told that even if he made up the difference from his part-time wages, the council would not accept that.
Instead they offered him a two-bed flat in Birmingham costing £525 per month.
He said: “My daughter’s emotional support is here. I’ve got to keep her here. She’s stable in school, she has a normal life now.
“All my hard work I’ve done to get her into that life is being thrown back in my face. I would have to start again. I also look after my son every day, when his mum’s at work, so I can’t just leave him behind.”
The 29-year-old, who works part-time as a waiter and barman at Aziz Express in the Ozone Leisure Park, Oxford, said: “It wouldn’t be so bad if it was somewhere like Abingdon or Witney, that’s close by, but Birmingham’s miles away.”
In the past year the council has offered 12 families homes outside of the county with just four accepting, including two in Birmingham.
Tenants do not have to go, but if they refuse they are then responsible for finding their own accommodation. They can appeal the decision and an independent officer decides if the decision is necessary.
Council leader Bob Price blamed the cap on housing benefit and lack of affordable homes for the situation.
He said: “The question is, can we find accommodation within the Local Housing Allowance? We are in a difficult housing situation. There is a very significant shortage of houses in Oxford and very high prices.”
The city council pledged to continue to work with the family.
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