Man sleeps in tent as Fo­cus Ire­land warn over rent costs

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS - By JES­SICA FARRY

A Sligo based man claims he has to sleep in a tent as he can­not find suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion af­ter his rented prop­erty was dam­aged in a house fire.

Thomas Walsh, orig­i­nally from Belfast, has been liv­ing in Sligo for six years.

Hav­ing be­come home­less fol­low­ing the break­down of a re­la­tion­ship in 2008, he was liv­ing in home­less hos­tels, be­fore coming to Sligo to stay in Finisklin.

He then moved into a house in Rath­braughan and was left dev­as­tated when the house was dam­aged in a fire al­most three weeks ago.

And now, un­able to find some­where suit­able to live for both him and his dog, Thomas says he has been forced to stay in a tent un­til he finds some­where suit­able.

“I was wo­ken up in the mid­dle of the night by peo­ple bang­ing on the door. I had no idea what was hap­pen­ing, and then I re­alised the house was on fire,” he told The Sligo Cham­pion.

Hav­ing housed his two cats, Thomas then handed his dog, Fred­die, over to the ISPCA res­cue team, as with­out a home he could not look af­ter his dog.

But he then re­ceived a call from the shel­ter say­ing that the dog was un­con­trol­lable.

“He was scared and afraid he would be aban­doned,” he ex­plained.

Although of­fered a place in the home­less shel­ter, he says he did not want to be in that en­vi­ron­ment.

“I would rather be in a tourist hos­tel, which I would have to pay for my­self. I’m off the drink and I don’t want to be in that en­vi­ron­ment in the home­less shel­ter,” he added.

Thomas says he has asked nu­mer­ous peo­ple to take his dog un­til he finds some­where suit­able, but so far his search has been fruit­less. Un­able to bring Fred­die into the hos­tel with him, and with no- one to take him, Thomas says he has no choice but to sleep in a tent.

Mean­while, the soar­ing cost of rent as seen in the Daft. ie re­port cou­pled with a short­age of hous­ing is a ma­jor con­cern for Fo­cus Ire­land Man­ager Mary Jame­son, with Sligo chil­dren se­verely im­pacted.

Fo­cus Ire­land warned that the nearly 3,000 chil­dren who are home­less na­tion­ally are be­com­ing the in­vis­i­ble vic­tims of the rental cri­sis as many have been forced into home­less­ness due to ris­ing rents or through buy- to- let prop­er­ties be­ing re­pos­sessed.

Fo­cus Ire­land Sligo Man­ager Mary Jame­son said: “As Septem­ber ap­proaches up to 1,800 chil­dren are pre­par­ing to re­turn to pri­mary or sec­ondary school and many are from fam­i­lies forced into home­less­ness by the rental cri­sis.

“This sit­u­a­tion is re­ally im­pact­ing on them as chil­dren and on their ed­u­ca­tion. It is fun­da­men­tally wrong this is be­ing al­lowed to hap­pen.”

Fo­cus Ire­land said the Govern­ment re­view of Re­build­ing Ire­land must in­clude im­me­di­ate ac­tion to ease the rental cri­sis and to get more va­cant homes back into the hous­ing stock.

Ms. Jame­son said: “The re­view of Re­build­ing Ire­land must take steps to ur­gently in­crease ac­cess to hous­ing by en­cour­ag­ing those with empty prop­er­ties to make them avail­able.

“This must be a car­rot and stick ap­proach such as in­tro­duc­ing more in­cen­tives for peo­ple to rent out empty houses along­side a tax on empty prop­er­ties in this time of cri­sis.”

The av­er­age rent in the com­bined town and county area stands at € 658 per month, a 11.9 % rise in just 12 months.

Sligo Fo­cus Ire­land Man­ager Mary Jame­son is not sur­prised by th­ese sta­tis­tics, with the or­gan­i­sa­tion at the front­line of the hous­ing and home­less cri­sis.

Across one bed­room apart­ments, and houses rang­ing from two to four bed­rooms, Sligo has ex­pe­ri­enced a min­i­mum of an in­crease of 9.5% in the last year alone. At an av­er­age of € 714 per month to rent a four bed house lo­cally, this fig­ure rep­re­sents an eye wa­ter­ing 9.8% rise in a year.

Ms. Jame­son said: “There is a short­age of af­ford­able ac­com­mo­da­tion all over the county; this is es­pe­cially ev­i­dent in Sligo Town it­self where rental costs are more ex­pen­sive than else­where.

“The af­ford­abil­ity of Sligo Town ac­com­mo­da­tion is a par­tic­u­lar con­cern for very many peo­ple lo­cally, and this is a prob­lem which our staff ex­pe­ri­ence in their work with cus­tomers.

“Our front­line staff here in Sligo are still deal­ing with peo­ple at se­ri­ous risk. There needs to a much wider range of Govern­ment ac­tions taken to keep pro­tect ten­ants and keep them in their homes.”

Fo­cus Ire­land have is­sued a warn­ing over the hous­ing cri­sis in Ire­land. Pic: Getty-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.