Sunday 21 January 2018

'Amazing act of kindness' – Homeless man given 'second chance at life' after landlord gives him a home

Stock picture/PA
Stock picture/PA
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A homeless man has been given a second chance at life after a generous landlord offered him a two bedroom house and offered to pay the difference between his state rent allowance and the rent.

Philip, who has been homeless in Cork city for the past 14 months, said he is "delighted by the act of kindness".

He told the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s RedFm that he had been struggling to find accommodation because no landlords will accept his rent allowance of €660 a month.

Philip said the minute rent allowance is mentioned he’s out of the running as other people arrive at viewings with the cash in hand.

"They just don’t get back to me.

"I felt like people just didn’t like me. I used to get very down about it. A friend of mine said 'it’s not you'. I feel like my life is on hold."

In an amazing gesture of kindness, a landlord in Cork who wished to remain anonymous, offered his two bedroom house to Philip and agreed to make up the difference between the rent allowance payment and the rent, which was in excess of €300.

"I feel a whole lot better. I’m really excited. I spoke to the landlord this morning and he’s a very nice man. The only stipulation he gave me was that I give him my word that I look after the property," Philip told the Neil Prendeville show.

"I’m very very grateful. I’ll be going home. I’m delighted by the act of kindness. If there were more people like that there would be a lot less homeless people. He’s putting his hand in his pocket for me. I can assure you I won’t let that man down.

"He doesn’t want any advertisement. He said to me ‘that will be your home for the rest of your life if you look after it’. That blows me away."

A businessman in Cork also donated €1,000 to pay Philip’s deposit on the house.

Philip said his mother, who is living in shared housing, is delighted.

"I have a second bedroom if my mum ever wants to stay over. She said she can go to her grave knowing her son has a home.

"I couldn’t sleep last night. I was just waiting for the rug to be pulled from underneath me again. I give a lot of thanks. I can get on with my life now."

Previously, Philip told Neil Prendeville that after struggling with drugs and alcohol, he wanted to get an education. He said he has completed courses in the past, getting distinctions.

"I rang the education officer and they said they’ll get me straight into a programme now that I have an address.

"I can do it with a small piece of help. I’ve had a lot of problems but I’m glad of it now because of the education I’ve had over the last 14 months. I know there are a lot of people with kind hearts out there."

Philip who is currently living in a B&B said he keeps busy to stop him falling back into drug and alcohol addiction.

“I go to meetings, I go to the gym, I walk my dog, I go to the library, I meet friends for coffee. I just stay busy.

"I did get very depressed and the doctors tried to put me on medication but I refused.

"There’s loads of men like me in the same boat and it’s a hopeless situation. The days are very long and the nights are too."

Philip said that all he wanted was a home and assured that he won’t let the generous landlord down.

"I am very very grateful. I won’t let him down."

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