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As winter begins to close in, one former McDonalds worker is living in a tent in Devon after losing her job due to coronavirus.
Melissa Norman, says she was asked to leave the £100-a-week hostel she was living in because she could no longer afford the rent after being furloughed by McDonalds.
She said: ''I moved into the hostel just before lockdown. I then got furloughed and lost my job at McDonalds and didn't have enough money to carry on paying the rent.’'
Melissa, 34, contacted Torbay Council to seek help, but she says she has been told she could be on the housing waiting list for up to a year.
''I've worked since I was 16-years old, paid all of my taxes,” she told Devon Live, “I think it’s disgusting.’'
Melissa says she’s noticed a general rise in homelessness since lockdown began, and thinks the local council should be doing more to help: ''The council need to open their eyes and put money into community centres, there is nowhere to even drop into to have a shower.
''It is not just me this is a wider problem. How can anyone get out of this situation when there is little help.’'
A spokesperson for Torbay Council said: ''We are seeing a huge increase in demand for our Housing Options service and our team are working extremely hard to secure temporary accommodation for those who need it.''
In order to get food and winter provisions, Melissa has been relying on PATH, a local community group which helps those at risk of homelessness, or who are vulnerable or in crisis.
Charity founder Kath Friedrich says there has been an increase in homelessness following the outbreak of coronavirus.
She said: ''People are coming to us in eye-watering numbers.
''Torbay Council have a number you can call if you are going to be homeless," she added, "but when you ring nothing really happens until someone can verify that you are actually on the streets, so that person will end up sleeping rough. It can take a while.
''It is getting colder and we have no winter provision as of yet.
''Normally, we would get sleeping bags from festivals such as Glastonbury, but with festivals cancelled this year we have none.''
- In the News
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