‘First Christmas’ at home for Chichester family

Erika Rudash and her daughter Evelina. PICTURE SUPPLIED BY SHELTER
Erika Rudash and her daughter Evelina. PICTURE SUPPLIED BY SHELTER

A MOTHER and daughter will have a happy Christmas at home – after being classed as ‘intentionally homeless’ a year ago by Chichester District Council.

Erika Rudash’s plight was featured in the Observer in February, but ten months on things have improved and she and her five-year-old daughter Evelina now rent a property in Cambrai Avenue.

She said everything was ‘looking great’, after she went to homeless charity Shelter for help.

“It feels like our first Christmas again. We are both so excited,” she said.

“We’re both so much happier and have so much more to celebrate this year.”

She works as a cleaner and went to CDC after being evicted and looking for help finding a landlord who would accept someone claiming housing benefit.

“I was not going to the council saying ‘give me a house’,” she said.

“At the end, it was just me and the council and the council was doing sort of silly things just to get rid of me and it was me against Chichester District Council, but there was at least Shelter who were always supporting me and that was a great help.”

Shelter spokeswoman said: “Erika came to Shelter for help last Christmas after being evicted from her home and left homeless. As a result, she found herself and her four-year-old daughter Evelina sharing a small room in a crowded B&B two hours from their home, where she had worked and sent her daughter to school.”

Evelina goes to Kingsham primary, but the B&B was in East Worthing.

Erika moved from her home country Latvia to avoid discrimination against single mothers.

She said she just needed helping finding a landlord who would accept them – but the council still classed her as intentionally homeless. Shelter said it received a 20 per cent increase in people calling its helpline last December in the south east and was expecting a rise this year.

A spokeswoman said: “The shocking figures reflect the growing number of people struggling to cope with the rising costs of living coupled with stagnating wages.”