COLUMN: A shocking story which highlights room for change

Novakovic family in a one bed flat. From left, Rad, Alex, Elizabeth and Victoria PNL-161025-121111009
Novakovic family in a one bed flat. From left, Rad, Alex, Elizabeth and Victoria PNL-161025-121111009

How has this been allowed to happen?

This week I sat down with a family in crisis, and a family who will be familiar to a great number of our readers.

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

Content Editor Hayley O'Keeffe

A few years ago the Novakovic family were at the centre of one of the most amazing outpourings of public kindness that this area has ever seen.

Little Alex Novakovic had a life threatening brain tumour, and desperately needed money to travel to Boston for miracle treatment to cure him. Everyone stepped up and a fundraising success story later Alex received his treatment.

But with a diagnosis like that comes immense strain, and when Alex relapsed last year the family sunk into despair, his mother Jasmine became ill suffering a breakdown.

Father Rad was forced to give up his job to care for both Alex and Jasmine and the family were evicted from their four bedroom home in Bedgrove because he signed on.

And now, despite both Alex and Jasmine still desperately needing space and calm to recuperate, the family has been housed by Aylesbury Vale District Council in a one bedroom flat - there are four of them sleeping in two cramped rooms - it is devastating.

Rad Novakovic is one of the bravest people that I have ever met, he and Jasmine have fought tooth and nail to do the best for their kids and hold it all together, testament to this is that eldest daughter Kristina recently won a place at university after achieviening the highest A-Level grades in her school. They are a family of survivors, and they are being let down by a system that is supposed to be for times like this.

I’m sure that readers of this newspaper will join me in appealing to the council to help the Novakovic family as a matter of extreme urgency.

A situation like this could happen to any one of us and this family’s nightmare feels like a sign of the times.

If any landlord has a suitable home which they could rent to the Novakovic family and could accept benefits money then please get in touch, it will provide them with the stability they need.

Many of us are just a couple of missed pay cheques away from being in this very same situation - let’s hope that this is just a horrible bureaucratic mistake and that the support is there really...