A Somali mother and son have been living on a high street bench for three years after turning down two-bedroom council flats in London.
Wandsworth Council has desperately tried to rehouse them and offered the pair two refurbished properties in Tooting, south west London, which typically cost £1,500 a month.
But they chose to remain on the bench despite last-ditch pleas from their family and members of the local Somali community.
The mother and son have been homeless since December 2014 when they were evicted from the flat they shared in Tooting. It is thought a death in the family and a period of hospitalisation led to them living on the streets.
They were photographed making themselves sandwiches at 11am as they sat down and rested their feet on their suitcases
The mother and son sleep underneath a tarpaulin and were pictued waking up in the morning at 10.30am having spent the night on the bench
The son, believed to be in his 20s, was handed a bottle of water from a passerby outside the church in Tooting, south west London, one morning
The mother and son have been living on the streets since they were evicted from their flat in Tooting and use umbrellas as shelter
Two young men walked past the mother and son as they were still asleep underneath their tarpauling first thing in the morning
Locals living in Tooting walk past the mother and son while they sleep underneath their blue sheet one morning in London
One man strolls past the mother who usually wakes up at around 8am before going back to sleep underneath the tarpaulin
The mother and son, who are from Somalia, are both usually awake by 10.30am and use blankets to stay warm in the morning
The son was photographed urinating up against the library wall as his mother remained sat down on the bench underneath a blanket
The council offered them a refurbished two-bedroom flat just off Tooting High Street (pictured) – but they turned it down
They spent time on a different bench outside TK Maxx – further down Tooting High Street – but it seems the family members have now found a new spot directly outside the local library.
Photographs show the son urinating up against the library wall and the pair sitting on the bench throughout the day before they finally pull a tarpaulin over them just after midnight.
By 10.30am, they are both usually awake and they typically have a honey sandwich 30 minutes later.
Throughout the day, the mother, who is believed to be in her 60s, speaks to people as they walk past and her son, thought to be in his 20s, sits next to her on the bench.
Residents who live in the area often give the pair food and water, before the mother and son pull a tarpaulin sheet over their heads to keep warm through the night, with their belongings stacked under and beside the bench.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF MOTHER AND SON WHO HAVE SET UP CAMP OUTSIDE A PUBLIC LIBRARY IN LONDON
10.30am: The mother and her son wake up
10.45am: The son, believed to be in his 20s, urinates in the corner up against the Tooting Library
11am: The pair enjoy breakfast, which typically consists of a honey sandwich
Noon: They drink takeaway coffees and the son listens to his MP3 player
1pm: The mother goes into the library when it opens and the pair then go for a walk
2pm: The son goes and collects their lunch of chicken and chips
2.45pm: The woman goes for a walk and he reads a book under his umbrella
4.20pm: He has an afternoon nap
7pm: They share a coffee
8pm: He sprays himself with deodorant and she applies hand and face cream
9pm: The son collects more chicken for them to eat
10.30pm: The mother falls asleep and he listens to his MP3 player
Midnight: The tarpaulin goes over and they both sleep
Once they are both awake, the son makes the pair sandwiches by using a loaf of bread which would have been given to them by the local community
Every night the couple relax on the bench and usually pull the tarpaulin over themselves just after midnight in Tooting
The mother and son were pictured outside Tooting library in 2015. They were draped in blankets and one of them had their feet resting on a suitcase
Pictured: Wandsworth Council say they have repeatedly offered the family a place to live, including this home, which they turned down
The mother and son wake up in the morning at 10.30am and crawl out from underneath the plastic sheet outside Tooting Library in south west London
Locals living in Tooting, south west London, have been helping the mother and son out by giving them food and water
On one particular Sunday, Around noon, he listened to his MP3 player and they went for a walk after eating chicken and chips together.
After napping, the mother applied hand a face cream and was asleep by 10.30pm – while he stayed up and listened to music. At midnight, he pulled the tarpaulin over the pair and they both fell asleep.
Back in 2014, the couple were evicted from their property in Tooting back after failing to pay their rent and have been on the street ever since.
A source told MailOnline that charities, members of their family, the police and people from the local Somali community have all failed to get them off the bench.
The most recent property they have been offered was just off Tooting High Street and two bed properties typically cost £1,500 per calendar month.
It comes with a newly-fitted kitchen and bathroom, but the couple declined the offer and prefer to remain on the bench.
The council described the situation as being a ‘difficult and complex case’ and said the mother and son ‘will not accept any offers’.
They spend most of their days sat next to each other on the bench and speak to people as they walk past. The mother usually sleeps at 10.30pm – while he stays up
The son, who is in his 20s, typically spends his evenings listening to music while his mother sleeps next to him on the bench
The flat the mother and son turned down had a open plan kitchen and dining room (pictured) and was just off Tooting High Street
The council offered them a refurbished flat (pictured), but they chose to remain outside the library, and turned the property down
This is one of the bedrooms inside the two-bedroom flat that the couple turned down – and they didn’t even look at it
A Wandsworth Council spokesman: ‘This is a very difficult and complex case involving two people who simply will not accept any of the offers of help they have received from the many different agencies and charities who have been involved in trying to find a solution to this problem.
‘The council offered them two very pleasant and fully refurbished two-bedroom flats in Tooting that they could have moved into straight away – but they turned both down without even looking at them.
‘If people refuse to accept offers of help then that is their decision and their choice. We cannot force people to accept our help.
‘Since this issue arose we have repeatedly tried to engage with them but these efforts have all been rebuffed.
‘We have enlisted the help of their extended family and representatives of the local Somali community, but no-one has been able to persuade them to come in off the streets.
‘We are of course enormously concerned for their welfare and are continuing to closely monitor the situation and offer support in the hope that they change their minds.’
The son was seen spending his time reading underneath an umbrella while his mother, who is in her 60s, napped next to him
Wandsworth Council said they have tried to rehome the mother and son (pictured together) but they have turned down two properties
The son usually spends his time listening to music on his MP3 player (pictured) while his mother sits next to him on the bench
Throughout the day, the mother and son tidy their area and clean up after they have eaten the food which has been giving to them
People from the local community typically come over and speak to the family who have been living on the streets since 2014
The mother was photographed folding up her floral blanket which she uses to keep warm while sitting on the bench outside the library
The mother and son are usually in good spirits and enjoy speaking to people who walk past and talk to them on Tooting High Street