Couple facing eviction have ‘nowhere to live’ with 3 cats, tortoise and 40 fish

Simon, 37, and Joanne Graham, 38, live with their vast array of pets in a flat in Southgate Street, Gloucester, but they say Gloucester City Council will not help them find proper housing for their animals

A couple on benefits who face eviction within five days say they have nowhere to go with their three cats, a tortoise, and 40 fish.

Simon, 37, and Joanne Graham, 38, live with their vast array of pets in a flat on Southgate Street, Gloucester.

They say Gloucester City Council will not help them find proper housing to live with their pets until they are made homeless.

The flat is being converted for other purposes, so they were given notice to leave at the beginning of the year by the landlord, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Since then, the married couple, who are on Universal Credit, have sought to arrange new housing with the council to home their big multi-species families but to no avail.

Former chef Simon, a father-of-one, sustained a brain injury in a car accident years ago, qualifying him for an employment support allowance.

Simon said the housing situation has added “stress” to his marriage and believes the council have acted “appallingly”.

The 37-year-old added that temporary housing has been offered for him and Joanne but nothing for their animals.

They say to house their three cats alone in a cattery would cost £150 a week – which they cannot afford.

They have, however, found someone who can take in their fish temporarily.

Simon went on to say: “Myself and my wife both suffer with mental health issues as well as physical issues with myself.

“We have until July 31 to be able to be housed by Gloucester City Council who say they want us on the street curb with all our belongings and family heirlooms, plus a 6ft fish tank a tortoise and three cats.

“They know full well we are in receipt of Universal Credit with me on the disability sector as well as receiving PIP (Personal Independence Payment). Yet they still want us on the street before they do anything.

“They’re also saying we would have to find the money from our own pocket for storage and temporary homes for the animals in which we cannot under any circumstances afford.”

A spokesperson for Gloucester City Council said: “We recognise that being threatened with homelessness is distressing and look to work with households to prevent this where possible.

“Although we cannot comment on individual cases when anyone approaches us about being made homeless we work hard to support them and understand their individual circumstances and the issues that they may be facing.

“We also offer financial assistance for those who are eligible to access alternative accommodation along with tailored advice and support.