Thursday 18 October 2018

Family's plea for help to find home

'Time is running out' for Blessington family in danger of homelessness

Brian Phelan, Jo Allen and their son Sam.
Brian Phelan, Jo Allen and their son Sam.

Deborah Coleman

A West Wicklow family on the brink of homelessness has made a desperate appeal for help in finding a new home before Christmas.

Brian Phelan and Jo Allen, who live in Blessington with their son Sam (who will soon turn four), have to move out of their home which is being sold.

As Jo suffers from Fibromyalgia, which causes her chronic pain and mobility issues, as well as sensitivity to loud noise, the family is desperate to secure a bungalow or, failing that, a suitable property with a stair lift.

'Time is running out for us to find somewhere. The house is sale agreed and once it is officially sold we will have a matter of weeks to move out. We could be homeless facing into Christmas if we don't find somewhere. To get onto the council's housing list we have to be declared as homeless so they can't help us as technically, at the moment, we are in a house. It's such a difficult time and takes its toll on my mental health,' Brian said.

As Jo's full time carer, Brian has been trying to look after his family while also travelling to view any property that becomes available and checking property websites daily.

He said that the couple are trying to put on a brave face for their son but that the situation is taking its toll on them.

'It is getting to the point where it is difficult financially to put petrol in the car to drive around to look at houses. We have viewed over ten at this stage and the problem is that there are so few available to rent,' he said.

Brian and Jo have been approved for the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) and are in a position to pay €1,500 per month rent but nowhere suitable has yet become available.

'We desperately want to stay in Blessington. We have made a life here, I am hoping to grow my Extreme Fitness club into a small business and we have our son enrolled in a local school for next year, but until we know where we stand it is impossible to make plans. We don't want to uproot and move to a different town or county but unless we find a home we will have to consider doing so,' Brian said.

Brian is well-known locally for his work running fitness meet-ups, hikes and walks which he has coupled up with community clean-ups and rubbish collections.

Wicklow People