A family has lost a mum, a nan and then their council home too – all within the space of a week.
Leanne Everest was still reeling from the death of her 75-year-old mum when she was told she had just four weeks to leave the flat she’d called home for three decades.
Now she faces having nowhere to live with her children.
Leanne’s mum, Diane, died “completely out of the blue” after a nine-week battle with pancreatic cancer.
Her diagnosis was “significantly delayed” by the coronavirus pandemic and when she finally managed to get to hospital at the beginning of December, she was told she had gastritis and was sent home, reports Wales Online.
But just three days before Christmas, the mum’s symptoms had worsened and she was forced to take a taxi back to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, where she was told she had pancreatic cancer.
Even so, there was reason to be hopeful and Diane was sent home on Christmas Day awaiting surgery to remove a tumour.
But on February 10, she was rushed to hospital with an infection and sadly died the next day.
“My precious and wonderful mum wasn’t expected to die,” said Ms Everest.
“It was completely out of the blue.”
The mother and daughter were inseparable and had lived together at the Barry property for 27 years.
Diane had inherited the tenancy from her own mother but the law allows only one succession per tenancy.
It means Ms Everest and her two children, Caitlyn, 20, and Louis, 18, now have to leave and will have to live wherever a house becomes available.
For the time being, they will have to settle for temporary accommodation due to a shortage of properties brought about by a spike in demand due to the pandemic.
Ms Everest, a single parent with very little family support, is scared about where she and her two children will be rehoused.
“I’m scared and worried that we’re going to be placed somewhere miles away,” she said.
“I have no transport, it’ really scary. We’re trying to grieve for my mum and the kids for their nan, and we’ve got all this.
“We’ve lived in this house for 27 years so I’ve got a lot of stuff to get rid of and move.”
Ms Everest, who is still yet to hold a funeral for her mum, said her mum would be “heartbroken” to see the situation she is currently faced with.
“She was completely oblivious of the situation,” she explained, adding none of them knew about the rule which prevented her from inheriting the tenancy.
“She would be heart broken if she knew. Because I had social anxiety brought about by depression I stopped going out with friends, so we were inseparable. We went everywhere together, she’d be utterly heartbroken if she knew the situation I was in right now.”
Ms Everest, who has been unable to work because of her severe anxiety and depression, had been her mum’s full-time carer for the last nine weeks of her life.
She is relying on her mum’s wages to last up to the end of the month and doesn’t know what she is going to do after that.
“We were served notice yesterday that we have four weeks to vacate the premises and hand back the keys,” she said.
“Because of Covid, there’s not the houses out there, and I totally understand that, but we’re just scared about where we’re going to be put.”
Diane, who raised Leanne as a single parent, had lived and worked in Barry her entire life, working as a cleaning supervisor at a local primary school for 35 years.
She was due to retire at Christmas 2020 but in a “cruel twist of fate” her cancer diagnosis meant she never got to enjoy her retirement.
Ms Everest believes Covid played “a significant role in the delay of her diagnosis and treatment”.
Now, the 45-year-old mum is going through the “heartache, stress and worry” of arranging a funeral as well as a house move.
“I have little money for rent and bills let alone the two moves and everything else that I now need to pay for,” she said.
“Things are pretty bad right now. We as a family are grieving for our mum and nan and now we have to lose our lovely home.
“My mum was a wonderful person with a heart of gold. She was selfless and so caring and would do anything for anyone. She would go without to make sure everyone else was okay. She was my mum, my rock and my world and we all miss her so much.
“We as a family are completely heartbroken but somehow we must begin to rebuild our lives again.”
Ms Everest has reluctantly started a GoFundMe page to raise some much-needed funds, believing it is her “only choice”.
A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said the local authority was “working closely” with Ms Everest and her family to find suitable accommodation.
They said: “[We] would like to offer our deepest sympathies following their recent loss.
“The law allows only one succession per tenancy to ensure properties become available to applicants on the housing register. If we did not do this, properties could perpetually be kept within families and new applicants would have limited opportunities to secure council accommodation.
“Currently, there are over 5,000 households on the register, including many homeless households and people in acute housing need.
“Ms Everest and her two adult children have been referred to our housing solutions team who will help them find alternative accommodation and also the money advice team.
“Whilst a notice to quit has been served, which expires at the end of March, they will be allowed to stay in their current accommodation until alternative accommodation is found.
“The council will continue to support the family and work with them to ensure the best outcome is achieved.”
A spokesperson for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “Our thoughts are with the family at this time. If they wish to discuss any aspect of care further we would ask that they contact our Concerns team.”