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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 21 August, 2018
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Homeless Defence Forces family offered council home

The family said they had also received help from members of the public and local businesses.

File photo of members of the Defence Forces.
File photo of members of the Defence Forces.
Image: Sam Boal

A DEFENCE FORCES family who said they had to register as homeless after being unable to find a new home have how been given a suitable council house.

That’s according to the group Wives and Partners of the Defence Forces (WPDF), which helped the family after they got in touch to highlight their predicament.

Shelly Cotter, WPDF spokesperson, told TheJournal.ie the Kildare family received the news about the council home two weeks ago, and got the keys a week ago.

She said that the WPDF put out a call for help on its Facebook page, and the organisers were blown away with the response.

“We had members from all over the country travel to help them,” she said. “It was phenomenal.”

The members of WPDF even helped the family to search for a private rented home, but then got the call about the council house.

The family’s story was first highlighted in early August by the Irish Times, who reported that though the father was in the Defence Forces and his partner works part-time, they had to receive the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) in order to afford rent.

Accommodation

Cotter said that the private landlord in whose house they were living was not to blame, as he had to sell up and was “absolutely wonderful” to them as he “felt awful about it”.

However because of issues getting private rented accommodation, the family registered as homeless with the council, local homeless shelter and the Simon Community.

“They didn’t for one minute think we’d find them a home,” she said of the family asking them to raise awareness of their plight.

She said the WPDF founders said there was “no way we could ignore” the situation.

It was a kaleidoscope of different circumstances that all came together and were crippling this serving family.

Despite the family being able to afford €1,200 rent per month, they were unable to secure a new home as landlords were not willing to accept the HAP.

One of the children in the family has a rare genetic disorder, which posed some issues to the family in finding a suitable home.

After the family was offered the council home, the WPDF put out a call for help in making the house suitable for the family to live in. This included creating a suitable dust-free space for the child with medical issues.

A local company, Expert Naas, donated appliances including a fridge freezer, washing machine, and cooker, to the family for their new home.

The family said:

The words ‘thank you’ seem too small to express how we are feeling and our faith in humanity has been restored. This is the first time we have ever had our own washing machine, our own fridge, our own oven to cook with. We feel like we got the winning lottery ticket.

Another local business person, Con Farrell of CPD Decorations, donated paint to the family. In addition, a local couple, Lesley and Bridget Percy, donated carpets, blinds, curtains and other essentials for the new home.

“The military family is quite unique this way because they all realise what everybody else is going through,” said Cotter of the help received. “The country is going through this and that is a fact, but the military is all pulling together. They don’t resent any other sector. There’s no ‘them and us’. We are a family and hands down, hundreds of people have come out.”

“The family didn’t expect this, not for a minute,” she said.

Read: Irish soldiers ‘depend on loan sharks and welfare payments’ to support their families>

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