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'I’m going to have surgery, then I start chemo, then I’ll be homeless'

Aisling is trying to find a place for her and her children to live before she begins treatment.

A MOTHER-OF-TWO HAS spoken out about her difficulty at finding a place to live in Dublin.

Like many other parents, Aisling is in a situation she never thought she would find herself in: she is facing homelessness.

Just over two weeks ago she was diagnosed with cancer in both breasts.

Shutterstock-243908053 File photo Source: Shutterstock

The 37-year-old said her landlady told her in August 2014 she would not be asked to leave her rented house for at least five years. However, she changed her mind a couple of months later.

Aisling was made redundant from her job last year, but said she never missed a rent payment.

She received a number of extensions as to when she needed to move out, but the last of these will run out in October.

Aisling said her landlady is aware of her diagnosis but will not return her calls or texts.

She has viewed a number of properties in the area, but they are all well above what she can afford.

Aisling gets rent allowance of €742 a month and her current rent is €1,100 after a recent increase. She said most of the suitable houses she looks at her in locality, which she describes as “not an affluent area”, are €1,800 a month or more.

Support network

Aisling said she wants to stay in the same area if at all possible as her children (an eight-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl) are settled and their support network is nearby.

My kids had a rough start so I want to keep them in school. Leaving school would traumatise them even more. My support network is in my neighbourhood. They’re the people I’ve got … They’re the ones who can mind the kids when everything falls apart.

Aisling said she is meeting with representatives from Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council next week to discuss her situation and see if she can be placed on the priority housing list.

Shutterstock-100800745 Source: Shutterstock

Aisling said the council has been “very nice” but a free legal aid solicitor has warned her the chances of her getting somewhere are “slim to none” given the current level of demand.

According to recent figures, there are over 500 families (including some 1,100 children) in emergency accommodation in Dublin.

“I don’t want people to think I’m a sponger … I don’t want to throw myself on the list ahead of people who’ve been waiting for years,” she said.

Treatment

Her doctors have told her staying in emergency accommodation “simply won’t do due to the high risk of infection” when she’s undergoing treatment.

“They have told me that I will become very sick and I have to prepare myself for all of that.”

I’m going to have surgery later this month, then I start chemo, then I’ll be homeless.

Aisling is due to have a double lumpectomy at the end of the month, the day before her children return to school.

She will have an auxiliary drain for two weeks before starting six to eight sessions of chemotherapy. Then there will be a break of a month or two before she begins radiation therapy.

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That will bring her up to the end of next summer.

Shutterstock-130569779 Source: Shutterstock

Her doctors have told her that her prognosis is good, but “they can’t guarantee anything”.

A recent test showed she is not as compatible with chemotherapy as hoped.

Her children do not know she has cancer.

Honestly, they don’t know about the cancer yet. They know I’m sick. I know they will find out soon. I’m trying to keep them a little bit protected for now.

Aisling is due back in hospital today for a weekend stay.

Despite everything, she is trying to remain positive.

“I’m not looking for a handout, I’m looking for a hand up for a little while – and I really hope it will just be for a little while.”

SPARK/Irish Single Parents Fight Back has started a petition in support of Aisling’s situation.

She does not want her surname to be made public for personal reasons.

Originally published: 00.05

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Órla Ryan

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