'Homeless' mother-daughter duo complain of racism and refuse to leave hospital stay, costing taxpayers over £150,000
Ruth Kidane, 21, was initially admitted to Barnet Hospital with respiratory problems, but now she and her mother Mimi Tebeje are refusing to leave claiming they are 'homeless'
A mother and daughter duo who have been living off taxpayers' money in a London hospital for over a year are claiming they can't return to the town they were previously situated in because of the racism they suffered. After authorities were unable to rehome 21-year-old Ruth Kidane and 50-year-old Mimi Tebeje in Grimsby, the pair has taken up residence at Barnet Hospital ever since, Mirror Online reported earlier this week.
Up until now, taxpayers have paid over £150,000 ($193,000) for the family's extended "hotel stay", meaning over 100 patients have missed out on a bed's availability in the hospital. The hospital trust has not taken any legal recourse to remove the duo despite the fact that neither are receiving any medical treatment, thus prompting a huge controversy. The 21-year-old was admitted 15 months ago as she is suffering from a rare muscle-weakening disorder. However, she and her mother have not left because they are currently "homeless".
In a conversation with Daily Mail, Mimi said she has suffered sickening racist abuse after arriving with her daughter from Ethiopia and being granted asylum. She was reportedly called a "n*****" multiple times and told to "go back home", according to the newspaper. "Sometimes I used to stay awake at night just to hold Ruth’s hand as she slept. I started to keep the curtains closed during the day," she said. Despite being offered a council home in Lincolnshire, they want to remain in London.
Last year in July, Ruth was admitted to Barnet Hospital in North London, due to respiratory problems. During this time, the mother reportedly moved into a bed next to her daughter on a general ward. Doctors declared Ruth, who uses a motorized scooter to traverse, fit for discharge within a month after admission.
According to The Sun, the couple earlier lived in a ground floor apartment in Grimsby. However, after they took up residence at the hospital, another family moved into the space. As the pair are not registered in Barnet and the hospital continues to cover their living costs, Barnet Council says their hands are tied.
In their hospital establishment, Ruth and Mimi have a bed, chair, TV and a sink. They are served two meals a day by hospital staff, who are simply adhering to hospital guidelines. The daughter gets taxis three days a week to her college, where she recently enrolled in an art and design course, according to reports. The family's ongoing stay is being funded by the Royal Free Hospital Trust, which runs Barnet Hospital. The organization has not issued any legal proceedings until now.
Speaking to The Sun, Patient Concern's Joyce Robins said: "This case is shocking, disgraceful. Apart from the incredible cost, it is hugely unfair to others. I can’t understand why the hospital would let this continue. Their job is to make people better, not offer a free B&B."
On the other hand, North East Lincolnshire Council said: "We have a statutory duty to work with people who find themselves homeless, offering help and support to get them back into accommodation. If the women return to the area, we will provide them with accommodation as is our duty."