A couple at Apollo House started the New Year with a bang after they got engaged at the homeless residence.
Cheryl and her partner got engaged in Apollo House after making the building their home for over two weeks now.
“We have been on the housing waiting list for seven years. We’ve been sleeping on mats in Merchant’s Quay night by night before we came to Apollo,” said Cheryl.
“When we’re put in hostels as a couple it’s really hard. I’d be placed in one part and my partner would be placed in another so I couldn’t see him.
“Our dream for 2017 is to be permanently housed.”
Apollo House welcomed in the New Year with music, fanfare and a list of demands on where they want to be in 2017.
Campaigners said they believe these demands are achievable and necessary to guarantee everyone currently housed in Apollo House will be safe and secure after January 11, the current date as ordered by the courts to leave.
Many residents who have been on the social housing waiting lists for years want to be securely housed for 2017.
“I’ve been on the waiting list for six years,” said Mitzalo, who became homeless when he was unable to afford rising rents and utililty costs.
“I didn’t want to go to a six month bed in homeless accommodation. I went to view it and there was no windows in the room. This for me was really depressing. It was dark. There are hundreds of thousands of boarded up houses being wasted. Places like these should be opened up to people in need.”
Other residents want to be placed on the Housing Assistance Payment scheme, so they can rent.
One resident says because of the level of trust he has with all other residents in Apollo House, he would love to stay with them.
“We trust each other here. I want to buy a big house and stay with everyone.”