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Homeless family faces living on the streets

Wednesday, 15th March, 2017 1:01am

A homeless mother-of-five is facing living on the streets as she struggles to find accommodation for her family in Galway.

Roseanne Cleary had been living in rented accommodation in Castlelawn Heights for four years until she was informed by her landlords that the house was being put up for sale.

“I had a good relationship with my landlords and I had good references. They gave me good notice and I had until 1 February to find a place,” said Ms Cleary.

Finding accommodation proved difficult, “From the minute I got my notice, I went searching for accommodation. But it is very difficult. I just want to find alternative accommodation, I can’t find a house, I’ve viewed and viewed and viewed.”

Ms Cleary and her five children were first given accommodation in Salthill before being moved to emergency accommodation in a hotel in Oranmore, both of which were paid for by local charity COPE Galway. But that accommodation ceased on Friday 10 March. Now Ms Cleary and her family are faced with struggling to find somewhere to stay every night. “We are moving around a lot and this isn’t good. We are looking for cheap accommodation every night. Things are very tough, they are heartbreaking, but I have to do this for my kids. All we want is alternative accommodation that suits us.”

Ms Cleary, whose family live in Mayo, believes that finding accommodation in Galway City is difficult as “landlords are getting big money from professionals.”

Her youngest child, three-year-old Joey, has severe autism and his welfare “has suffered a lot since we became homeless,” she added.

He was recently granted 20 hours a week home tuition. But this cannot be availed of as Joey doesn’t have a permanent residence. “It can’t go ahead because of this. Living out of a hotel room is not suitable. He is a little boy who needs structure and stability in his life.”

She added, “If I was watching someone on the news living out of a hotel room, I’d have the same reaction, thinking they were living in this fancy hotel. But that is not how it is at all. People don’t know what it’s like to live out of a hotel room. A family of five kids and me in a room with three beds.”

“There is no way of cooking, no way of washing clothes. We are all cooped up together all the time, confined to a small space. It is fine for a weekend away but not for living in full time. Children don’t have their own space. They don’t have somewhere to put their clothes, they are living out of a bag. A hotel room is not suitable.”

A letter from Ms Cleary’s GP states, “A busy environment is distressing and causing anxiety for a child with autism. They also need movement and exercise to manage their symptoms. This is a vulnerable family with no security as regards their future.”

Ms Cleary spoke to Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney when he visited Galway City on Friday 3 March. “I told him my story and asked for help. He listened to my story and took my file. But I have not got any help since then.”

She was originally on the City housing list but has transferred over to the County. She is pleading with Galway County Council to help her. “I have gone to the Minister and I’m now hoping that Galway County Council can help me. What else can I do?”

For now, she is looking for accommodation from night to night. “There is a housing crisis in this city. It is so, so hard to find accommodation. The houses just aren’t there.”

Thanking COPE Galway and the Galway Housing Action Group, she added, “I just hope that we can find somewhere soon.”

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