We’re homeless and live in a car”: Family of 4’s struggle after being refused emergency accommodation
A family of four are living out of their car after they were refused emergency accommodation.
Desperate Sabrina McMahon, 36, has begged for help as she has been left stranded with her three kids in her car for more than a week.
She says she has been begging for a home in Dublin but was told she’d have to go to Kildare County Council for refuge – which was her last permanent address.
Sabrina’s previous home in Athy was ransacked by thugs two years ago and she no longer felt safe in the area.
She then moved back to Tallaght, where she is originally from, and has since been trying to raise her family on her own.
The desperate woman has been left needing to call to friends to make up bottles for her 18-month-old baby Chelsea as well as use their baths to wash her other two kids, Karl, five, and three year old Michaela.
Sabrina said she was left with no choice but to sleep in her car, a Vauxhall Vectra.
The mum added: “It was the last resort. It’s come to the point where I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself.
“The kids don’t know if they’re coming and going. The younger ones don’t really understand what’s going on. But the oldest does.
“He’s always asking where we’re staying tonight or what we’re going to eat. Their lives have been turned upside down by what is going on.
“I’m not asking for much. I just want to be able to raise my family. We have nothing. I’m here with all the suitcases into he back and the three of them sleep in here with me.
“I keep the heating on in the car which is costing me a fortune in petrol but we’re not going to freeze. I’m just heartbroken by all of this.”
She went to the local council in a bid to be housed but was told that she was registered in Kildare and couldn’t get accommodation in her home town.
Her mum lives in Cushlawn Park in Tallaght but the house does not have the space to fit her and the children.
Sabrina has also been knocking door to door to friends to put her up.
But the mum explained how she feels like she is becoming a burden to her friends and family.
She added: “Everyone has been great for the past couple of years but it has gotten to the point now where I feel out of place.
“I don’t like imposing myself there. So that’s how we’ve become homeless.
“It’s like the council don’t care about me or my family.”
Sabrina has tried to find a new place but no landlord in the area will accept rent allowance.
And she was dealt a hammer blow on Wednesday when she was told she was a month away from qualifying for the homeless unit.
Sabrina added: “They have told me that I have to go back to Kildare because that is the last place I had a permanent address.
“But my life is here. This is where I’m from. One of the boys is settled in school and my three year old has to go to speech therapy in Dublin as well.
“It would be a massive change for us to move anywhere.”
Local councillor Maire Devine said she was disgusted to hear of Sabrina’s plight and said her heart broke once she heard the story.
The Sinn Fein representative said she is furious with the housing scheme in her constituency.
She said: “Sabrina came into one of my clinics and told me about her situation. At first I couldn’t believe what this family was going through.
“But then I thought about it and it makes sense. The Government, Fine Gael especially, doesn’t care about social housing.
“It’s as simple as that. But Labour, who are supposed to be fighting for people like Sabrina, have turned their backs on them.
“Sometimes you feel so powerless, you’re hitting your head against a brick wall. But we have to fight for people like Sabrina.
“This is 21st century Ireland. This situation reminds me of the 1930’s tenement buildings where many lived in horrible conditions.”
And the councillor said more has to be done to protect those who are living in poverty across the island.
She added: “This issue doesn’t just involve people on social welfare. It’s all those who are on low incomes. We have 10,000 people on the housing list in the area. That is just not acceptable.”