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“A garda station or sofa surfing? Kids need structure and routine, I want to try to protect them from trauma.”
A Dublin mum-of-three facing eviction has said she was told to “go to a garda station” if she had nowhere else to turn.
Laura Harford and her three boys Riley (12), Logan (nine), and Teddy (seven), have been living in their home in Tallaght for nearly ten years but have now been told the landlord is leaving the market.
The young family will be homeless from next week.
On Wednesday, the government’s eviction ban was lifted after 83 TDs voted in favour of it and 68 voted against it.
The vote has sparked widespread anger among opposition TDs who claim it will result in the current record levels of homelessness soaring even higher,
Speaking to the Sunday World, Laura said she is very worried for her children.
“It is traumatic, it is deeply upsetting, you fight tooth and nail for your children, to protect them from trauma, but nobody seems to care.
"Nobody wants to speak to you. I can’t get an appointment with the council,” Laura said.
Sounding visibly upset, she described how she has been told to attend her local garda station, if she has nowhere else to turn.
“I rang the homeless section yesterday, they said go to a family member or friend, but I have nobody available, no siblings.
“So, they told me to show up on the day I get evicted. With my bags packed. If they have something available, they will give it to me.
“Then I was told I can always go to the guards on the day I get evicted, with my three kids,” said Laura.
The young mum has been desperately trying to make an appointment with one specific section of South Dublin County Council.
“I have needed for months to speak to someone from the allocation section, but they don’t reply to voicemails or emails, nothing.
"I can’t seem to speak to anyone, it’s impossible.
“A number of charities and health services have letters on my file, in relation to my children.
"Upset and trauma will destroy their mental health – homeless hubs have one room with four beds. We have issues with ADHD in the family.
“It’s been a tough year for my kids already before this. A homeless hub will ruin their progress.
"But I can’t speak to anyone to see if they are taking these letters into account.
“Homeless HAP (Housing Assistance Payments) staff in South Dublin Co Council don’t give or sign their names anymore. So you can’t deal with anyone specific,” Laura said.
The Dublin mum has been on the waiting list for a home for a decade and, she says, a simple administrative error meant she missed out on some housing opportunities.
“My account was on hold, but nobody informed me. I just wanted log in details.
"That error had had a huge effect. I missed months and months of looking for homes.
“We’ve been in this house for a decade and we thought we would be here for the forseeable future.
"It’s devastating. I’ve been rigorously looking since last August but when they hear you are on homeless HAP; landlords don’t want to know.
“I asked the landlord for a couple of more months because I have nowhere to go with my kids.
“I was quite upset but I just said; ‘OK, thank you’ and left it at that.
"Are my kids just a number? They are children.
“A garda station or sofa surfing? Kids need structure and routine, I want to try to protect them from trauma.
“Nobody cares, nobody wants to speak with us. The council offices are barely open. I have another letter I need to bring over on my kids’ behalf.
“I can’t even make an appointment – I feel like a failure right now. There are many empty houses boarded up.
“In the allocation section, someone to speak to, that’s all I want. I just want our health letters taken into account,” Laura added.