PLEASE HELP US FIND A HOME

‘TIME IS RUN­NING OUT’ FOR BLESS­ING­TON FAM­ILY IN DAN­GER OF HOME­LESS­NESS

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By 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.

Brian says they have ex­hausted ev­ery op­tion to them, and de­spite be­ing ap­proved for the Hous­ing As­sis­tance Pay­ment Scheme, they can­not find any home to meet their needs.

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.

Teacher Tur­lough O’Don­nell, stu­dents Emma O’Toole, Aoife Richardson and Hope Walsh and teacher Tanya Twyford Troy in the art room at the Bless­ing­ton Com­mu­nity Col­lege open day.

Brian Phe­lan and Jo Allen.

Brian Phe­lan, Jo Allen and their son Sam.

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