Family stuck in hostel after landlord sold house ‘I just want somewhere to call home’

A family who were left homeless after their landlord sold their rented accommodation have spoken of their difficulty in finding accommodation.

Fran, his wife and three young children have not found housing despite their requests for hundreds of houses.

The family of five has been living in a hostel for several weeks.

Read more: The number of homeless people has fallen by almost a third, but the figures are “still too high”

Fran spoke to Dublin Live about the ordeal the family have endured over the past month since moving from their previous home.

“My wife and I both had good jobs. We had been in rented accommodation for seven years,” he said.

“Covid hit and we both lost our jobs. After that the landlord told us he was going to sell the rented accommodation we were living in.

“He gave us six months’ notice and since January we’ve been looking everywhere.

“We searched Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Meath. Basically out of the hundreds of apps we got four views and no luck.”

Their landlord allowed the family to stay in the house for another month because they had no chance of finding anything.

“After we left our house (in April) we stayed with a friend for a few nights. Obviously it wasn’t going to work out, she didn’t have the space,” he said.

The family paid for a hotel and also spent a few nights covered by Fran’s college and his wife’s work.

After contacting Theresa Kelly, an outreach worker for the homeless, they got a place in a hostel.

Fran said: “It would be good for two adults but it’s not good for three kids.

“In our old accommodation we could set up a playpen and the babies could move around, but in a hostel there is nowhere for the babies to move around.

“Our belongings are everywhere in the hostel. At the moment we do not feel safe. The accommodation is not suitable for a family.

“My son is at school an hour away from us, so my wife has to get in the car every morning while I take care of the babies.”

Fran spoke about the stereotypes the family faces due to their homelessness.

“People make judgments that mop up welfare or whatever. My wife and I have both worked since we were 15,” he said.

“The only time we lost jobs was during the recession. When we lost jobs, we both went back to college to re-educate.

“My wife went back to college after being laid off and now has a career from there.

“I tried to change careers before the last time I was laid off. When I lost my job due to Covid, I went back to university rather than sitting still.

“I wanted to have something else to help me find a job.”

Fran also explained that the family have searched for homes all over the country and are ready to move anywhere, but because the HAP payment is lower in countries outside of Dublin, it is difficult to find anywhere. .

“We would move anywhere in the country if there was a house for us. All we want is a home,” he said.

A spokesperson for Fingal County Council told Dublin Live: “When an individual or family presents to Fingal County Council as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, a homeless assessment is carried out and information and advice are given.

“Access to emergency accommodation can be provided if required – bookings are managed on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive. Eligibility for access to assistance under from the HAP program for the homeless may also be approved if deemed eligible.

“While we would not like to comment on the specifics of individual cases, please note that a homeless assessment was conducted with this family and information was provided in relation to their situation. They also had access to a emergency accommodation and have been approved to benefit from the homeless HAP.

“Fingal County Council allocates social housing assistance to applicants based on need. This means properties are allocated to applicants based on how long they are on our housing listing.”

Read more: Homeless Dublin woman ‘at breaking point’ as she is rejected from 33 home visits

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Linda G. Ibarra