A homeless family of six who threatened to sleep in their car outside Kildare County Council offices on Monday, unless they were given an extension on their emergency accommodation, got two extra nights, writes Paula Campbell.
Bridget and Martin Lawrence have been living with their four children, the youngest of whom is 18 months, in council emergency accommodation in the Hazel Hotel in Monasterevin for the past 12 weeks.
In that time they claimed to have been looking for a suitable house but none has become available under the rent supplement scheme. The council has told them that they are no longer entitled to any emergency accommodation. However, on Monday afternoon, they offered them the family two nights to carry out more house viewings
“We would have been forced to sleep in the car tonight (Monday) otherwise,” said Bridget. “We were considered for a four-bedroom bungalow in Maynooth but it needs work and the council said that they have no money to carry out the work so we can’t move in there.
“We had been living in Newbridge for the past two and a half years before that. We are members of the travelling community and we feel we are discriminated against when we go to look at a house for rent.
“We want a council house now and we are on the waiting list but we have no where to go tonight and we have been waiting to see someone in the council since 11am.”
According to Bridget, they were paying €280 a month towards their room in the Hazel Hotel while the rest was subsidised by the council.
“It is embarrassing enough to be homeless and then for us to come in and be told there is nothing for us.”
Kildare County Council said cannot comment on individual cases.