Tuesday 22 January 2019

Time running out: Mother fears she will be left homeless for Christmas by eviction

Worried: Marie Ryan and her daughter Karen are struggling to find a landlord that will accept the HAP. Photo: Mark Condren
Worried: Marie Ryan and her daughter Karen are struggling to find a landlord that will accept the HAP. Photo: Mark Condren
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

A cancer survivor who will be evicted from her home just two days before Christmas fears she will be left homeless due to the reluctance of landlords to accept the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

Marie Ryan (63), from Malahide, Co Dublin, has been renting her home for the past two years and regularly cares for her daughter Karen, who has special needs.

However, her world turned upside down earlier this year when her landlord issued her with an eviction notice for December 23.

Ms Ryan has found it so difficult to find an alternative home that she's stopped telling landlords that she is entitled to HAP.

"I honestly never thought I'd be in this situation," she told the Herald.

"Everything was going so well with my landlord and I thought he'd be thrilled to know I was entitled to HAP," Ms Ryan said. "However, they were pressuring him to commit to another two years in my lease, which he wasn't prepared to do.

"I then got notice that he wanted his place back for his own personal use by December 23. I was shocked."

Ms Ryan, who looks after her daughter at weekends, added that she required a home which is suitable for Karen's special needs. Because of this, the pressure to find an alternative dwelling has vastly increased.

"I've been looking for a place to live for months now but I've had no luck at all," she said. "There was one house that I was very interested in and when I went to enquire about it the girl on the phone asked me if I was on any entitlements.

"When I told her I was on HAP, she replied that it wasn't available to me, but suggested a cheaper place in Holywell which wasn't suitable at all.

"I found out very quickly that landlords aren't accepting people on HAP.

"I've even stopped mentioning it and had more luck getting replies and viewings."

The mother-of-three is also on the Fingal housing list but, so far, it has been unable to find her an adequate property for her and her daughter.

"Time is running out for me and I honestly fear I'll become homeless if I can't find another place to live," she said. "There is a huge discrimination towards people on HAP and I really think the Government should take more measures to ensure people like myself get more support."

Some 6,000 affordable homes were announced in Budget 2019 for couples earning up to €75,000, with €2.3bn going into housing overall - an increase of €470m. A further €60m will go into emergency accommodation, with an additional €121m for HAP expected to create 16,760 tenancies.

Homelessness charity the Peter McVerry Trust welcomed the changes, saying it was "delighted" with the measures.


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