Wednesday 26 October 2016

Belmayne bliss for mum Helen as apartment means she's saved from homelessness

Helen Maguire
Helen Maguire
Belmayne where Helen Maguire is a resident under The Cluid Resident Housing Association Scheme.

Helen Maguire spent seven months in emergency accommodation with her son after being made homeless.

Now her life has been dramatically changed after she was given a home in an apartment complex originally launched by football star Jamie Redknapp and his pop star wife Louise.

Belmayne, on the northside of the city near the Hilton hotel and Clarehall Shopping Centre, was launched with great fanfare in 2007.

There were plans to build more than 2,000 homes on the site, and the advertising campaign involved beautiful models draped on kitchen counters with slogans such as "Something's cooking @ Belmayne" and "Gorgeous living comes to Dublin".


But the economic crash that devastated the country saw parts of Belmayne reduced to a ghost estate.

Now an initiative between Dublin City Council and Cluid housing agency is seeing more and more units there being used for social housing to help combat the homelessness crisis.

Cluid has announced that another 125 apartments have been completed and are being occupied. The organisation already manages 134 apartments in Belmayne, and the additional units will make the estate the biggest housing development that Cluid runs.

For Helen, the apartment is the difference between an uncertain future in emergency accommodation and the security of a home that she can rent at an affordable price.

"I had been renting in Darndale for three years when the person who owned the property decided to move back into it, so I had to leave," Helen said from her two-bed apartment.

"The cheapest price for a flat was €1,200 a month and there was no way I could afford it. I was homeless all of a sudden.

"I then spent seven months in a room in the Bewley's Hotel at the airport. The staff made me feel at home, but it just wasn't right for me and my grown-up son to be staying there," Helen told the Herald.

"I went on the council housing list and eventually they gave my details to Cluid and they came up with this apartment in Belmayne. It means the world to me.

"These buildings were here with nobody in them - and now they are being used to solve a genuine crisis. Now I know where my future is and I know my rent won't rocket without warning. It gives me great peace of mind. I'm settled in mind and body," she said.

Nicola Kelleher is another resident of Belmayne. She has been living there for five years under the Cluid scheme.


She has a 14-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter. She moved there when the Ballymun regeneration began.

"It's great here. There's great community spirit and we have organised family fun days and summer camps for the kids," she said.

"Everyone looks out for each other, and now that Cluid are bringing more families in it's fantastic because you get a sense of community and there are less empty buildings."

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