Grieving mum and four kids face 'homelessness' before Christmas after partner's sudden death

28 November 2022, 21:16 | Updated: 28 November 2022, 21:35

Sarah Ryan has been told to vacate the home she had lived in with her partner, after he died following a short illness with cancer in August.
Sarah Ryan has been told to vacate the home she had lived in with her partner, after he died following a short illness with cancer in August. Picture: Sarah Ryan

By Chris Samuel

A mum-of-four says she and her children are homeless after they were were evicted from their home following the sudden death of her partner of 17 years.

Sarah Ryan was told to vacate the home she had lived in with her partner, after he died following a short illness with cancer in August.

Ms Ryan and the couple's four children, whose ages range from four to 13, now face having to leave the property in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, just days before Christmas, Manchester Evening News reported.

Sarah, 36, claims they have been told by the local council that due to the wait for housing, if they can't find anywhere to stay, they will be put in a hotel without cooking facilities indefinitely.

Her partner Michael Grey was diagnosed with rare cancer retroperitoneal sarcoma in the summer of 2021 and was told the illness would be terminal.

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Speaking to the local outlet she said: "He started having hip pain in July last year but when he went to the doctors they did blood tests but they were normal.

"They thought it might be IBS so gave him a CT scan which revealed he had a tumour that was 16.5cm in length. It had already killed one of his kidneys and doctors were unable to operate.

"After his second round of chemotherapy they did another scan and it showed that the tumour had doubled and he had months to live. I was looking after four kids whilst being his carer."

Michael died on August 23 this year.

He had previously co-owned the house they shared, but on the day of his funeral, Sarah claims she received a letter from the joint owner of the property informing her that she was being evicted.

After attending a court hearing at Manchester Civil Justice Centre on Monday 21 November, Sarah was told she has 28 days to leave the property.

"We are homeless," she said. "The stress of it all is making me ill. My mental health is deteriorating and my son has learning difficulties so he's really struggling.

Sarah Ryan
Picture: Sarah Ryan

"I have spoken to Tameside Council and they are so backlogged that I won't be on the system for months.

"They are saying I'll likely have to be placed in an emergency hotel with no cooking facilities where I could stay for up to two years."

The grieving mother says her own mum has offered to help, but she only has one spare bedroom available for the five of them.

After losing half the family's income when Michael passed away, she also cannot afford a deposit on a new property.

Sarah's friends have since rallied round to help her get back on her feet in time for the festive period.

Sarah Ryan
Picture: Sarah Ryan

"I've got Christmas coming up and three of my children's birthdays are in December," she said. "There are days at the moment where I can't even get out of bed because my mental health is so bad.

"I've not even had a chance to grieve for my partner because I'm so concerned about my children. It's likely we'll be staying in an emergency hotel this Christmas."

A spokesperson for Tameside Council said: "The Council works hard to prevent homelessness and the earlier we are informed of issues the more we can do to help.

"In cases where the courts are involved, we ask for copies of the court documents so that we can assess if there are any steps that can be taken to appeal or delay the eviction date. We will provide all the support we can and Welfare Rights will also provide support and representation.

"The options we can offer in such cases include negotiating with the existing landlord, help to secure alternative private rented accommodation and advice on applying to registered providers.

"Where the Council is not able to help using these tools, then the applicant has a statutory right to make a homeless application. In some circumstances, the Council does use B&B accommodation though there would always be a suitability assessment to ensure it is suitable for the applicant and their family.

"At the moment in Tameside, B&B use is minimal and applicants are either being offered self-contained Temporary Accommodation at the point of application, or where B&B is used, the stay is below 4 weeks."