Bray Family at risk told they are ‘not desperate enough’ to get help


Having been given notice by their landlord in June 2022, that the house they were renting was going to be put up for sale, Lisa and her husband immediately contacted the council and completed all of the relevant paperwork to ensure they had the best chance of getting assistance. Despite their prompt action, they were told to come back a week before they were homeless.

14 weeks after their initial application, the family were approved for housing assistance payment (HAP). Unfortunately and despite it being illegal to refuse a potential tenant based on their eligibility for HAP, Wicklow renters continue to struggle to find housing and even more so to find landlords that will accept government funded housing payments. Lisa and her family were no different in this regard and their search has proved fruitless despite being active everyday on rental sites. Not wishing to rely on anyone for their housing needs, their attempts to get a mortgage have fallen flat as Lisa is a carer for her son.

Lisa and her husband have been making daily visits, calls and e-mails to council offices and TD’s in the local area in the hope that persistence will pay off and that their family will not be left separated either sofa surfing or in emergency accommodation, which is now hotel rooms. They have even gone so far as to provide the council with portfolios of potential properties that they could rent. 

As Lisa said herself, she ‘didn’t want to further damage an already fractured system’ and so herself and her family had always paid their own way and relied on their own income for their housing need. She now feels that by applying for council assistance when her children were small and she could have availed of supports would have meant she and her family would be far better off now. Lisa is now, like so many other families, clinging to hope that her honesty and integrity will pay off and she will be seen right by Wicklow County Council.

A mother of 3 children, one of whom has additional needs, she had given up her career as a social care worker when her son was diagnosed with Autism and she needed to care for him. Over the last number of months, she has also undergone a procedure to remove a lump from her breast. Throughout her recovery she has been dealing with the stress of trying to leave one home and find another. Lisa says her pride is gone. It is more than any parent should have to go through. Her mental health is in jeopardy and there are no other options for housing.

Lisa’s son has autism  and needs his space and routine to be able to function. It is not a choice, nor a fad. In order for him to process the stimulation of the day, he needs to retreat to his quiet space to decompress. It is vitally important that the entire family are housed together in order for her son to be able to get through the day to day activities we take for granted.

With the story breaking in local papers last week and a live interview on East Coast FM last Wednesday, Lisa hoped that someone, somewhere could help. There has been no development in this regard. With just 1 day to go until they are due to move out of their home of the last 7 years, and moments before we went to publish their story, there has been talk of emergency accommodation being made available for the Healy family in the locality. Again, nothing is confirmed and the family await confirmation.

Do you have a property that you can rent to a family of 5 who have played the game by all of the rules and still been let down by a crumbling system?

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