Teenager not a priority - council

HOUSING officials said today that a Felixstowe teenager could not be offered a new home because he is not a priority case.Robert Ward, 19, who is now sleeping on his parents' lounge floor, was forced to sleep on the streets for two nights after he separated from his wife Marianne and was left with nowhere to go.

HOUSING officials said today that a Felixstowe teenager could not be offered a new home because he is not a priority case.

Robert Ward, 19, who is now sleeping on his parents' lounge floor, was forced to sleep on the streets for two nights after he separated from his wife Marianne and was left with nowhere to go.

He had claimed that asylum seekers would be offered more help and shown more compassion than he was receiving.

But it turned out that his "asylum seekers" were EU nationals who have the right to live and work in Britain.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal council said under the current law the authority was unable to offer help to Mr Ward and other homeless people in similar circumstances.

Those aged between 16 and 18, people with children, pregnant women or couples where one was pregnant, the elderly, and people suffering from a disability were treated as priority or vulnerable cases.

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"We can only act within what the current law states and the law currently aims to help the vulnerable people it identifies and unfortunately Mr Ward is not a priority under the legislation," he said.

Mr Ward had claimed that two foreign nationals who he believed to be asylum seekers in front of him in the queue at the housing office had been given more advice than he had, though they were also not offered accommodation.

The council spokesman said the pair were foreign migrant workers from Spain and Portugal seeking accommodation but were also not classed as vulnerable.

They were offered advice about where to contact the Salvation Army, which might be able to offer hostel places, and this was marked on their own map.

"Mr Ward was also offered the same advice about hostel places at the YMCA and the Salvation Army," he added.

Mr Ward had lived with his wife – and her five children from a previous relationship – in Butley Road, Felixstowe.

His mum Sue Ward said: "He cannot stay with us because we have just not got the room. He has been married for a year and living away from us for 18 months and is independent now. He needs a place of his own."

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