Crawley woman says emotional goodbye to family home after eviction


A Crawley woman has said an emotional goodbye to her family home after being evicted today (Monday April 18).

Toni Carter, 32, moved back into her childhood home to help her terminally ill mum, Leigh Jelley, last April.

But her mum died sooner than expected in February, two months before Toni was allowed to succeed the tenancy under the Crawley Borough Council’s rules.

She returned the keys today.

She said: “Twenty six years of my life I spent in there, it was my family home.”

“That home has good memories for me. It was like an extension of my mother.

“If mum had any idea what was going on she would be devastated because she has always lived in Crawley.

“I am just bitter, I am disappointed and I am angry at the system.”

A council spokeswoman said Toni did not meet residential eligibility criteria outlined in the Housing Act 1985 to succeed the tenancy.

The council also said she was not eligible for a two-year temporary tenancy because she had not lived in the home for five consecutive years.

A petition was launched to keep her in her home, collecting more than 600 signatures, but was unsuccessful.

Toni said: “It is just sad really. I have had to throw a lot of my belongings away as I can’t carry them around.

“I have been officially made homeless for somebody else to be put in there.

“It is not even sympathy I wanted, I just wanted help.”

Toni is now staying with a friend.

She said she was grateful for the support from friends and family and even strangers who got on board with her campaign.

“I really appreciate the time and effort everyone has put in to try and help me. I want to say a huge thank you.”

She added she was hopeful the coverage of her case would help others in a similar situation know they were not alone.

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