‘Homeless’ woman hits out at council over Gorebridge home

LtoR: Karla Allan, Riley (2), Chris Allan (Partner) & Paige Allan (15)
LtoR: Karla Allan, Riley (2), Chris Allan (Partner) & Paige Allan (15)

A ‘homeless’ mother of seven who had to sleep in a tent has criticised Midlothian Council for the “dangerous” home it has provided her with.

Karla Allan (42), moved into the two bedroom home at Hunterfield Terrace in Gorebridge in May with her partner Christopher Allan (35), her daughter Paige (15) and son Kyle (17). She has five other children.

The family have encountered problems with the property since they moved in and claimed Kyle has been attacked twice in the street.

Karla had waited six months for a home after becoming homeless when she left her husband.

She said: “The council couldn’t find us anywhere to live. Me and my partner had to sleep in a tent at woods near Penicuik in March.

“We begged them from the very beginning not to put us in Gorebridge as I got assaulted there. But it came to the point where they said you take this or you’re basically homeless.

“The day we moved in the housing officer didn’t show us around the house or check anything. It was just five minutes to sign the paperwork. Since then we have discovered the electricity and gas are ancient. It kept consuming so much gas. Then we realised we couldn’t control when it came on.

“It’s just very dangerous. I have constantly phoned the council to speak to them but I’ve had no response. We don’t know where to turn. Nobody seems to want to do anything.

“At the end of the day somebody has to come out and see how bad it is.”

Midlothian Council defended the property, stating that Karla was provided with information about how to use the heating system, and it said that she had made no objections to moving to Gorebridge.

Karla revealed how tough the situation has been for her and her family. She said: “It’s put a big strain on my mental health. It’s really getting to me. The neurologist thinks I’ve got the onset of Parkinson’s.

“My daughter has to sleep in a room with me and my partner. And my son has been assaulted twice, so he is scared to come home from his training course. I have four other children in Penicuik so I have to travel to see them. It would be better being moved closer to them and somewhere safe. My eldest daughter lives in Edinburgh.

“It was meant to be a fully furnished house but there was only four bits of furniture. We were told by the council that we couldn’t get anymore as the property was billed as fully furnished. We don’t even have dishes, no Hoover either.”

A council spokesman denied the property wasn’t fully furnished, adding: “Mrs Allan was advised of the property address prior to housing allocation which was deemed suitable by her. Midlothian Council has investigated Mrs Allan’s concerns and can confirm the temporary accommodation complies with the required legal and housing quality standards, including health and safety, hygiene and fire regulations and meets the evidenced needs of Mrs Allan’s household.

“Midlothian Council staff will continue to work with Mrs Allan to ensure that the necessary housing support services and housing options advice is made available to deliver a housing solution, taking account of the limited availability of accommodation in Mrs Allan’s preferred areas of choice.”