Homeless in Honiton: Sharon's story

A HOMELESS woman, who has been living in a tent at a Honiton beauty spot, was last week given just days to pack up and leave.

A HOMELESS woman, who has been living in a tent at a Honiton beauty spot, was last week given just days to pack up and leave.Sharon Thornton had been living in the tent for three months - ever since she was asked to hand back the keys to a two-bedroom property in the town.A laminated notice was stuck to her tent by volunteers acting for Honiton Town Council. Ms Thornton, 36, told the Herald she suffers from health issues and that she was being pushed from pillar to post, with no immediate prospect of finding accommodation locally.Frustration led the mother-of-one to express her anger in a way that last week saw her appear before magistrates in Exeter. She had thrown an object at the window of a property in Honiton. "Even the magistrates were shocked to hear of my circumstances," she said."I was destitute before moving into the tent, but it's not a very nice way to live."It's freezing cold, I can't get comfortable and spent the first four weeks spending my benefit money on journeys to Exeter to get help."Ms Thornton, who has been classified as a "sofa surfer", says her health has deteriorated even more since she became homeless."I'm suffering from a vomiting bug at the moment," she told the Herald. "I wake up every morning feeling poorly. I'm not well. "The thing about being homeless is that things aren't black and white. I'm not getting any help." Ms Thornton spoke to the Herald because, she said, "I've got nothing to lose."I am a human being, but my views aren't being taken into account."She had lived at an address in Honiton for a number of years before finding herself homeless and says she wants to stay in the town."I was told I needed to go to Tiverton, but I want to stay in Honiton," she said."I feel vulnerable living in a tent. I'm a woman and there's no way I can put a lock on a tent to keep myself safe."Ms Thornton falls into the legal category of intentionally homeless, meaning East Devon District Council does not have a duty to house her.

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