A mum from Sutton is calling for Sutton Council to "communicate better" after she suddenly became homeless and was sent to emergency accommodation in another borough that she says was "absolutely horrible".

Maria*, 42, "never imagined" she would become homeless when she came to the UK from Bulgaria in March 2008 with her then-partner.

But this changed when their relationship ended in 2023, and now she privately rents a room in a shared house with money lent from her ex-partner while their 11-year-old son lives with him.

The council did give her accommodation in Croydon, but she claims she was forced to leave due to the conditions.

Maria told Your Local Guardian: “I became homeless because me and my ex-partner decided to split up.

“He had the money to find a new property and to take my son with him.

“By that time, I didn't have a job, I didn't have any income whatsoever so I couldn't keep our current property.”

Maria said she got in touch with Sutton Council to explain her situation in November 2023, but claims that its communication has been poor, and she has been "expected to know everything".

Sutton Council then gave her a home in Croydon, but Maria said it was "absolutely horrible" and she had to leave.

She added: "They sent me one hour away from here somewhere in Croydon, which I've never been there before.

“The place was freezing, there was no phone reception in sight.

“The back door was open for 24 hours, so people were coming in and out.

“I didn’t even know the other people there.

“I started to get panic attacks and anxiety because I do have a history of mental health.”

Maria claims that the local housing authority then told her they were not obliged to find her another accommodation and that she was responsible for finding her own.

Since December 29, Maria has been privately renting a room in a shared house but finds it difficult with "sleepless nights" and worries for safety.

When she expressed her fears to the housing authority, she claims they told her that all they could do was send her back to the emergency accommodation in Croydon again.

She also says she was told that they would help her with rent and one-month deposit, but she would be responsible for finding her own place because she left the one provided by the council.

She said: “I don't know any details or how much of the help it's going to be or how exactly the whole procedure works.

“I’ve never been in this situation before.

“Obviously, I do expect them to explain and engage a bit more, which is not happening at the moment.

“I’ve ran out of options. I don’t know how to communicate with them anymore."

Maria says nothing has been explained to her, and she wants to see more communication and for them to be more open and approachable.

A spokesperson for the Sutton Council said: “Unfortunately, along with many other local authorities, there is increasing demand for homelessness accommodation, and we are not always able to place a resident without our borough boundaries.

“Whilst we seek to house people as close as possible to facilities that they need, this is often not possible when housing needs to be found at short notice.

“In this case, the offer of emergency accommodation was made twice, with acceptance on the second occasion.

“We also supported the resident with setting up a benefits claim to help with future costs.

“The resident is no longer homeless and has made alternative arrangements.

“The council will always provide support where individuals are eligible and in priority need.”

*This is not the person’s real name