has gone to war with Yarra city council after her family were forced out of an unsanctioned apartment built at the back of the shop.
Helena Smirnis spent a year sleeping in the changerooms of her Collingwood business, Siren Doll, while building bedrooms for her school-aged sons without a permit.
Now she claims they will soon be homeless and living on the street because council officers have demanded they tear down the new structure.
Helena Smirnis with bedding in her lingerie store changerooms. Picture: Kylie Else
I have been leasing this shop for nearly 20 years and now Yarra city council have made my boys and I homeless, she said.
It comes under commercial and has a heritage overlay, but the building behind mine is under the same overlay and people live there in a three-storey apartment.
The order followers at the council have no compassion and I think its more about money than safety.
Ms Smirnis said the council was, technically, a private company and should focus on providing services.
The local council is unlawful and unconstitutional and they are acting illegally by removing me from my home, she said.
I spent every Sunday, the only day I don't work, building the home for a year and now I have to tear it down -because they wont let me -rebuild and implement the safety aspects into it.