Mum's delight at 'amazing gift' of new home in Ballymun
Delighted mother Aoife Kavanagh has received "the amazing gift" of a home of her own in Ballymun.
Aoife (28), her son Sebastian (6) and daughter Saffron (3) are now living in Coultry Housing Development, the final housing scheme commissioned by the Ballymun Regeneration project, which was officially opened yesterday.
"My life has changed for the best," said Aoife.
She had been struggling to pay private sector rents in with the help of rent allowances. Worries of future rent increases had been a cause of stress.
Her life was transformed when she switched from paying €600 a month in the private sector to being allocated a high-quality, three-bedroom house for €41 a week, she said.
"We've always lived in apartments but now my children can go out and play in their own garden. It's wonderful," she said.
The 25 new housing units are being managed by HAIL - Housing Association for Integrated Living - on behalf of Dublin City Council.
Gary Gifford (36) said he was homeless for three years and living in a succession of hostels until he was allocated a new one-bedroom home in the development for €27 a week.
"It's like winning the Lotto," said a relieved Gary, who used to work as an artist's blacksmith before losing his job, encountering problems, and becoming homeless.
The official opening ceremony was presided over by Environment Minister Alan Kelly and Dublin's Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh. The scheme, with €5m State funding, was an excellent example of good quality, sustainable and integrated housing, said the minister.
Ms Ni Dhalaigh said she looked forward to a future meeting with the minister about the housing crisis in Dublin which has 1,100 children in emergency accommodation.
Patricia Cleary, chief executive officer of HAIL, said approved housing bodies are seen as a major part of the housing solution "for seriously socially-excluded groups."
"This has been a good example of the excellent collaboration and support between Dublin City Council, Ballymun Regeneration Ltd, HAIL, community mental health and rehabilitation services, local welfare services, and community agencies," she said.
The new development has a mix of residents with different needs, among them a few people needing support in overcoming mental health difficulties.