A HOMELESS woman has told of her battle to find a home.

Charlotte Podesta, 27, says that she was forced to leave her flat in Lewes because she was unable to pay her rent.

She claims that she has been unable to find housing with local councils due to having rent arrears and refusing to give up her beloved dog, Hershey.

She said: "When I wake up I really worry about where I'm going to stay that night

"I just have to do it day-by-day and I can't think ahead right now.

"It's really upsetting, just because I have a dog it shouldn't be harder for me to get housing.

"I just want a permanent place, somewhere I feel safe."

Charlotte, who grew up in Littlehampton, said she was moved by police to Lewes after being assaulted at a previous home.

Since she was evicted in January she has been moving between Brighton, Worthing and Bognor, some nights having to sleep on the streets.

She says whilst she is lucky to have friends in Sussex that allow her to stay, having Hershey means that it cannot be for very long.

Prior to being evicted Charlotte battled pneumonia.

She said doctors told her the infection was likely caused by damp living conditions in her previous flat.

She is now concerned that her health may suffer again if she is forced to sleep rough.

The Argus: Charlotte and HersheyCharlotte and Hershey

Despite her search for a permanent home Charlotte says she will not give up Hershey under any circumstances because she is so important to her.

She said: "Hershey has helped me through so much with my mental health, my last dog was stolen off me and it was horrible, I won't ever give up Hershey."

A spokeswoman for Lewes District Council said: "As Charlotte has not registered this dog as a support animal, we are currently unable to provide her with emergency accommodation as pets are not allowed in this type of housing.

"We have contacted Charlotte today (Monday 7) asking her to complete an updated application form to confirm whether her dog is registered as a support animal.

"If this is the case, we can try to find accommodation for them together.

"Alternatively, if Charlotte does not have anyone to look after her dog while placed in emergency accommodation, we can help with kennel charges while she looks for a permanent housing solution."

Ultimately, Charlotte hopes she can find a safe and secure home where she can live with her pet.

She was allowed back into her Lewes flat but had to leave again and remove her belongings.

Charlotte has launched a GoFundMe page in order to raise money to help her keep safe.

She says any donations received will help pay for somewhere more permanent to live, or be used for food, water and other essentials.

To donate to Charlotte's GoFundMe page, visit www.gofundme.com/f/help-charlotte-beat-homelessness.

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