A FAMILY with two children have been made homeless this week in yet another example of Reading’s housing shortage.

Mahesh Vara, 42, on Monday was searching for a place for his family to stay the night while his son and daughter, 10 and 11, were at school, and his wife, 37, was at work. He said he went to the council, who told him there was nothing available.

Mr Vara said: “We’ve got nowhere else to go. I’ll take anything.”

If he sleeps in his car with his children, he is worried the council will report him to social services and his children will be put into care, similarly if they sleep on the streets or in a park.

“I don’t want that to happen. That would mess the children up even worse, being in a different environment where their parents aren’t there. That would scare the living daylights out of me if I were a little kid.”

Mr Vara said he has been trying to find accommodation for years. Private landlords turn his family away because many do not accept tenants who claim housing benefit. He said he has registered with all the housing agencies, but with no luck.

His wife works three hours every day at Morrisons as a cashier. She wants to increase her hours but is on a zero hours contract, and was told it wasn’t possible to give her any more work.

Mr Vara used to work at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in the emergency department as a porter. He lost his job in 2017 due to illness. He was offered ill health retirement, but his pension only gives him £69 a month, on top of universal credit.

His type two diabetes and chronic pancreatitis mean he is in constant pain and has to take medication every four hours. Despite this, he is still looking for work. He recently was offered a job at Heathrow Airport as a security officer, but failed the medical check because of the pain relief medication he must take.

“I’m trying my best to get my life back on track. I don’t want my children to think it’s OK for someone to be sitting at home. I want them to get the idea you get on and go to work and make something of your life.”

Until recently, the family stayed with Mr Vara’s parents. But he said his wife and mother argue a lot in front of the children. On the weekend, his father told him to pack their things together and leave. Mr Vara worries about the violent behaviour his children are learning from seeing their grandparents be verbally abusive towards their mother.

Mr Vara and his wife have gone or parenting courses, and have met with social services, who told them they need their own space, away from the grandparents. The council suggested a home visit, to mediate between the parents and grandparents, but Mr Vara’s father said no.

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said: “We are currently investigating their case. The council has been working with the family to try to find a solution to their current housing situation and to explore options for securing alternative accommodation in the future. We will continue to offer support and advice to the family.”