This week, 52 Lives is helping Mandy, a single mum with cancer who is about to be made homeless.
We heard about Mandy from a project manager at a local food bank, who has been trying to help this family through all the official agencies, without any positive response.
Mandy has worked all of her adult life. But she was recently diagnosed with cancer, and as a result of chemotherapy was forced to leave her job in hospitality and catering, which had also provided accommodation for Mandy and her two children.
She made a decision to move to London, so that she could receive some extra support from family and friends with looking after her children, particularly during her treatment. She found somewhere to rent quite quickly, as she had some money saved, but with no ongoing income, she has since started receiving benefits and a housing allowance. This took some time to sort out, which is why she had to start relying on the Foodbank to feed her children.
Her current landlord now needs the house back for his extended family, and so Mandy has been issued with an eviction notice. She has desperately been looking for housing throughout the local area, but as she is now on benefits, it is very hard to find a landlord that will take her. And, even if she did, private rents are much higher than the council housing allowance she receives.
Despite the fact Mandy has cancer, is undergoing intense treatment, and is supporting two children, the council cannot provide any housing for her, as she hasn't lived in the borough for more than 5 years.
Although people from the council have tried to assist her, their hands are tied. The best they can advise is that she let herself and her children be evicted and made homeless, then the council may be forced to provide somewhere for them to go.
Mandy's children have been an amazing support to her and are being incredibly strong, helping to cook, clean and care for her. But they are still just children. They have had to move to a new area, start new schools, and try to make new friends. And they are very scared about what's happening to their mum. Mandy really doesn't want to put them through the ordeal of being evicted and having bailiffs force them onto the street, in the hope the council might find them a place to live.
Her only other option is to give up on London, and move somewhere else, where she will have no family or support. But Mandy and the children will be completely alone.
What this family is going through is horrific, and to have the threat of homelessness hanging over your head while undergoing chemotherapy and caring for two children is just plain wrong.