A HOMELESS woman who has lived on the streets for five years says she has ‘no choice’ but to sleep rough.
Speaking to the Solihull News, Sabina Hansard says the accommodation she has been offered by the council and the probation service is not ‘fit for purpose.’
The 52-year-old, who is a prolific shoplifter, was sentenced to two weeks in jail on Monday after she took over £300 worth of clothing from Marks and Spencer in Solihull over the weekend.
Solihull Magistrates Court heard that Hansard, who has 77 previous convictions, took the clothes because she was cold.
Hansard told the Solihull News last Friday: “I steal to fulfil my basic needs - food and clothes. It’s not right but I have no choice.
“Prison is hell but I just need somewhere warm to go and a place to lie down. When I’m there, I just cry. Usually I sleep in shop doorways or wherever I can,” she said.
Hansard, who is originally from Meriden, said she visits Solihull Connect - Solihull Council’s housing department - on a weekly basis trying to get re-homed.
“The emergency housing I have been offered is awful, it’s not fit to live in.”
A spokesman for Solihull Council said: “Solihull Council and its partner organisations are committed to helping rough sleepers off the street. However, when offers of temporary accommodation and support are repeatedly turned down, our options do become limited.
“Once temporary accommodation is secured for an individual, housing officers will work with them to help secure a more permanent housing arrangement.”