Not the ‘breast’ council advice for homeless mum

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A senior housing officer has been slammed for her “tactless” attitude towards a heavily pregnant, homeless woman put up by the council in a hotel.

Mum-to-be Jade Lovell contacted senior housing officer Andrea Vincent to say that she was worried about making up the baby’s bottles because she had no kitchen, fridge or sink.

Ms Vincent’s written reply was: “With a new baby it would be normal to breast feed for the first six months, so this equipment should be a little while away.”

She went on to say that: “Hopefully the council will have found alternative accommodation by the time the baby is six months old.”

Said 23-year-old Jade: “A housing officer has no right to say how to feed my baby.”

She and her partner, warehouse worker Luke Fisher, pay the council £187 a week for a double room at Milton Keynes Hotel in Deanshanger.

The couple, who have both lived in the city all their lives, were previously staying with Luke’s family while they saved for a deposit to rent privately.

They became homeless in July when Luke’s army employee father had to move suddenly.

Jade, who is due to give birth within four weeks, said: “The hotel was the only place the council could put us. But already it is crammed full of stuff the baby will need.

“There’s nowhere to cook so we eat takeaways. And our room smells of cigarette smoke because there are smoking rooms next to us. It is not healthy for a new baby.”

Backed by her health visitor, Jade has asked the council repeatedly to move her before the baby is born.

“All we want is somewhere suitable to live with our baby until we manage to save for a deposit,” she said.

Labour spokesman Nigel Long said: “The council has a duty to find “reasonable” accommodation.

“I would argue that it is not reasonable at all to bring a new baby back to a hotel room that has no kitchen.”

Councillor Long added: “While I appreciate the pressure housing officers can be under, the comment about breast-feeding was tactless.”

A council spokesman said: “We are aware of this case and we are working hard to help this young couple.

“In terms of the comments made about breast-feeding, we are sorry if they have caused offence but they were made in good faith and genuinely intended to help.

“We hope to find a more suitable home for this couple.”