Whistle blowing asylum seeker faces eviction from Stockton hostel

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AN ASYLUM seeker who blew the whistle on conditions in a mother and baby hostel could face eviction.

A month after talking to The Guardian newspaper about the environment at a Stockton hostel, Chawada Matiwala, originally from Zimbabwe, is appealing an eviction threat from the UK Border Agency.

Ms Matiwala, who lives at the hostel with her two-year-old child, made allegations to journalists and MPs in December regarding “cramped and stuffy” conditions that she claims adversely affected families living there.

She told The Guardian that “confinement” at the hostel – which houses 32 women and 38 children - was “unbearable” and claimed that ambulances were called to the premises as regularly as once a week.

A spokesman for the landlords of the hostel, Stockton company Jomast – who are also behind the multi-million refurbishment of the town’s Globe Theatre - said that he was not sure what the allegations made in The Guardian were. However, he went on to add: “We refute these allegations in their entirety.”

A petition set up in support of Ms Matiwala by Guardian journalist Zoe Williams claims that the mother could be left destitute by the Border Agency’s decision and asks for the support of MPs and the public.

James Wharton, MP for Stockton South, said: “I am aware of this case...I am waiting for the Border Agency to get back to me but I believe there is no imminent eviction taking place as the matter is being reviewed. I will do everything I can to assist my constituents but due processes should be followed in these cases.”

A UK Border Agency spokesman said “It would be inappropriate to comment at this stage as the case remains subject to the appeals process.”

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