herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Single mum fears being made homeless again after flat is sold

Amanda Barnes and her children Charlie, Millie and Luca are struggling to find a new home
Amanda Barnes and her children Charlie, Millie and Luca are struggling to find a new home

A single mum living in a one-bed apartment with her three children is facing homelessness again after her landlord decided to sell the property.

Amanda Barnes (22), who is originally from Sallynoggin, Dublin, was homeless between January and April last year.

She then joined the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme and eventually found an apartment in Granitefield Manor, south Dublin.

However, her landlord is now selling the property and she has to move out by June 5.

Amanda has been to numerous property viewings but says she is consistently being told by landlords they "do not take on HAP" tenants.

"The council told me people aren't allowed to refuse you because you're using HAP, but I've been to over 90 viewings since September and nobody has got back to me," she said.

"It's awful living in such overcrowded conditions. It's not permanent and at any point you can be told you've to move out. How am I supposed to tell my kids that they may be homeless in a couple of months?"

Amanda's three children are Charlie (2), Millie (1) and four-month-old Luca.

Argue

She split from her partner, who is father to her three children, last year and has been unable to go back to work as she has to mind her children full-time.

She claims she asked Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to come and inspect the property to see the overcrowded conditions they are living in.

"They said I cannot argue any overcrowding points due to being on the HAP scheme," she said. "The area itself is lovely but I haven't got room to swing a cat."

HAP was introduced in 2014 as a form of social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need.

Under the scheme, rent is paid to a landlord by a local authority on behalf of the tenants.

In Amanda's case, she has to pay a weekly contribution to the local authority which comes out of her social welfare payments.

Tenants using HAP have to source the accommodation themselves and there is a price limit on rent.

Last night, a spokesperson for the council said: "Households eligible for HAP are approved for a payment rate in accordance with their household size.

"It is the responsibility of all HAP recipients to find their own accommodation in the private rental market."

They said that where a HAP property is deemed unsuitable, the applicant is responsible for sourcing new accommodation.

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