Family left homeless at Christmas after fleeing three ‘hell-hole’ B&Bs


A mum-of-two says her family has been made homeless at Christmas – after they were forced to flee three ‘hell-hole’ B&Bs.

Desperate Megan and Harry Johnstone, who have two young children, were evicted from their rented home last month after their landlady told them she was selling up.

The mum and dad, and their eight-year-old son Jacob and daughter Ivy-Beau, three, were forced to move into a three B&Bs as no permanent accommodation was available, Birmingham Live reports.

But they said they fled all three, claiming they were driven out by drug-taking and anti-social behaviour.

The family-of-four has now been forced to move into a tiny bedroom at the home of Megan’s mum until Birmingham City Council can find them a permanent home.

The couple said they were terrified by antisocial behaviour

Megan, 27, said: “I suffer from depression and anxiety which has been worsened by the continual horrendous ways we are being treated and the situations we have been put in since being placed in these hell-holes.

“I almost don’t even have the words to describe how my kids are – distressed, nervous and scared.

“My kids are used to having their own rooms and were in bed for 6 or 7pm. They went from that to places where people are banging the doors and screaming until 11.30 or 12pm at night.”

The couple are waiting for permanent housing

The family was served with an eviction notice in February after their landlady told them she wanted to sell their home of five years. 

The Covid crisis saw the Government suspend all evictions until October when they were given notice to quit again, eventually leaving on November 12.

With builder Harry, 25, struggling for work during the pandemic they had no alternative but to approach the council for emergency accommodation – the start of their B&B nightmare.

They were initially put up at a two-star hotel in Oldbury, where rooms can be booked for £18 per night.

Megan claimed: “When we arrived there were people smoking cannabis on the doorstep with a big bong and a boom-box blasting music right at the front door.

“When we got back into the room on the second night after visiting my parents we found someone had been in and stolen a bottle of my perfume.”

A broken bunk bed where the children had to stay

She added: “The ladder was also broken on the bunk bed the kids had and there were children running in the corridors at 11.30pm banging doors.”

After complaining to the council, the family were moved to another hotel. 

Megan said: “We felt alienated, on edge and anxious. 

“All we could hear above us were kids jumping on and off the beds and screaming and banging.”

She added: “We did complain about the noise and they were better at reception at the Norfolk and knocked on the doors of people who were banging and sorted it.

“But you could still hear constant screaming in the early hours of the morning till 2am and 3am.”

Unable to cope with another night at the Norfolk, the family fled to a relative’s home and stayed overnight.

They were moved to a third Birmingham B&B on November 18 and managed to stay there for two weeks, but claim they felt unable to stay because of strict rules and ‘bullying staff’.

Megan said: “It was absolutely horrendous as well.  We’ve been bullied there and victimised to the point where we were forced out of there by the way we’ve been made to feel.

“If you go and sit in your car to make a phone call or other residents have a cigarette, the staff threaten they will phone the council and get you a warning.

“You’re told that you can lose your temporary accommodation.”

The family has now set up temporary home in one cramped bedroom of Megan’s mum’s house in Longbridge, but are desperate to find their own council home for Christmas.

Megan said: “We’ve just felt like we’ve been in prison, that is the best way we can explain it. To be confided in a tiny room with just beds, with no space from the children, has just been torture.”





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