A FATHER says his entire family of five is living in one room at a relative’s house in York – and he has been told they are not entitled to council accommodation.

Steven Forward said he, his wife Leanne and their three children Charlie, eight, Holly, six, and Robyn, 15 months old, all sleep in a room measuring about 12ft by 10ft at a house in Bede Avenue, Clifton, owned by his wife’s cousin.

Mr Forward said: “Robyn sleeps in the bed with us and the two older children sleep on a mattress on the floor. It’s very overcrowded, but there is no other spare room in the house where anyone can go.”

He had applied to City of York Council for accommodation but been turned down on the grounds he was intentionally homeless, and an appeal had now been refused.

Mr Forward said the family originally lived in York but had moved to Somerset last autumn, where they signed a six-month lease on a rented house.

But within days, his wife’s father died and the family had to move back up to York because she needed to assist her widowed mother. Her cousin agreed to put them up as a temporary measure on February 10.

The council had argued that, because the family had left their home in Somerset before the lease expired, they had intentionally made themselves homeless, even though they had a letter from the landlord saying they had to leave by February 19.

A council spokeswoman said that to decide whether someone had made themselves intentionally homeless, it would consider whether “as a deliberate act they did, or failed to do something, that as a direct consequence they ceased to occupy accommodation that was available for their occupation and it would have been reasonable to continue to occupy.”

She said a homelessness assessment would be carried out, involving a detailed interview to look at a person’s or family’s circumstances and to apply the relevant legal criteria.

“Throughout the process, we would ask for all relevant information and documents. A full investigation would be completed and a decision made on an application in accordance with section 184 of the Housing Act 1996.”

A council caseworker would also go through other housing options, such as private rented accommodation.