herald

Monday 23 October 2017

I almost feel like I'm living in prison, says Edward (65)

aN elderly man who has been living in emergency accomodation for seven months says it is like living in prison.

Edward McClusky (65), from Drumcondra, was forced to leave his home of 20 years in Drumcondra when the building was taken over by receivers last January.

He spent three weeks couch-surfing and sleeping rough in his car before the council placed him into one of their emergency shelters on the North Circular Road. Around 20 people live in the unit with Mr McCluskey, but he said he is fortunate enough to have his own bedsit.

"At this stage in your life it's terrible to feel like you're almost in a prison," Mr McCluskey told the Herald.

lonely

"It's lonely not to be able to bring friends around for a cup of tea. It can be very depressing to live with such strict rules."

He is not allowed to host visitors in his temporary home and must abide by a strict 11pm curfew.

Though he is glad to have a roof over his head, he still wants his own house where he can have security.

"The rules here are just isolating me, I've been really stressed and I would just like somewhere permanent to call my own,"

He would ideally like just a small, secure room near the Mater Hospital as he suffers from a range of health problems including angina, epilepsy, rheumatism and back problems.

"I would be happy with just a small room somewhere, it's not a lot to ask for," he said.

Six months living in the emergency accommodation is taking its toll on his physical well-being.

"The steps are almost killing me," he told the Herald.

"People don't realise what you are going through," he said.

"You suffer in silence a lot of the time but you could easily have a breakdown because of feeling so lost and helpless."

Mr McCluskey has been exploring alternative avenues and viewed a house with charity ALONE last week. But 30 people who turned up at the viewing and he lost out. CEO of ALONE, Sean Moynihan said: "Older people are the hidden housing crisis."

hnews@herald.ie

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