What’s up people? What the fuck is going on with all the single mamas lately?
Another Single Mother Erected A Tent Outside County Carlow Council Office after local authority stopped paying for her emergency accommodation.
Karen Middleton who is 26 and her son Luke aged 6 had been living in a B&B room in Carlow town for the past five weeks. In a recent meeting with Carlow housing officials the council outlined to Ms Middleton that she should cop-on as it’s gone beyond the joke now and they would not be paying for her emergency accommodation anymore.
Seamus O’Connor, director of services at Carlow county council said “Ms Middleton was told she would have to depend on her family network, if she was not able to source a rented property as B&B’s are for tourists and not to house the homeless individuals in the country.
“Rooms in hotels or B&Bs are reserved in County Carlow for those in emergency situations and not for those who feel like doing such stunts hoping to secure a permanent B&B residency or forcing council to splash a couple of million Euro to buy a castle for them to live in.”.
Ms Middleton was living in Dublin last year until a breakdown in a relationship meant she had to move back to Carlow town, where she grew up. She said initially she and her son Luke “were sleeping on floors and couches of friends and family” before she read how well homeless were being treated after Apollo House stunt and all eyes were on them so she joined in and was then placed in emergency accommodation by Carlow County Council.
Before moving to Dublin, she lived in a rented property in Carlow on the housing assistance payment (HAP) scheme. But she has failed to find a landlord who will accept a tenant on the council assisted HAP scheme since moving back to County Carlow.
Earlier this year she spent one night in a women’s refuge in Wexford, but the centre only offers long term lodging to women based in Wexford county. There is no women’s refuge in Carlow, and the only local authority funded homeless accommodation in the county is a 16-bed shelter for men.
Ms Middleton said “She would continue to sleep outside of the Carlow county council offices until the issue was resolved. They don’t seem to have any interest. At the minute the answer is just ‘go away’. I’m willing to take anything at this stage, just a roof over my head.”
The council was aware of 100 people on the social housing list living involuntarily with family relatives.
It would be much more effective, where appropriate, to support these home-based families financially and socially, saving homeless hotel bills and costly care support so people with families will be staying with their families and they will be welcoming to take them in.
Ms Middleton said “She hadn’t lived in her family home for the last seven years. They can’t take me in as they don’t have the room. Other relatives have their own kids. It’s not their responsibility to take me in, it’s the council’s duty of care.”
Mike Allen, advocacy director at Focus Ireland, which runs homelessness support services, said local authorities outside of Dublin were seeing increasing numbers of families presenting as homeless.
“Many local authorities are much less prepared for this than the four Dublin authorities were, and many seem to be forced to invent responses as they go along,” he said.
“Families are provided with hotel accommodation but with arbitrary timescales, often of a week, in which the family are expected to resolve their problem. When they can’t resolve the problem they are left with nowhere to stay.”
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