Diabetic Amputee from Midleton says He will be Dead before He is Offered Council House

By Seamus Whelehan

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A single father on the housing list for almost a decade says he'll be "dead and gone" before he’s given a Council house.   Billy Collins, a diabetic amputee from Midleton, is confined to his elderly parent’s front room while he remains on the long-term list for social housing.

Since 2010 the Ballinascarta man has been seeking accommodation for both himself and his son.   “Cork County Council hasn’t offered even a tent in that time” he says, “just letters saying we’ll keep you in mind.”   What’s adding to the frustration of the father of one is that there is a property lying idle for the past two years locally that would suit his needs.

After surviving two heart attacks and a stroke in 2010, because of his diabetes, Billy moved back to the family home as a temporary measure.   His diabetes deteriorated to the extent that he had to have his leg amputated, confining him to the sitting room.  The 48 year old was operated on last month and spent some time in the Mercy Hospital before his discharge.  Billy is just one of 33 with a disability on the Cork County Council waiting list, and one of almost 1,000 single people seeking accommodation in East Cork, according to the latest figures.

Billy’s case, along with many others, was put forward by Independent Cllr Noel Collins at Monday’s Sitting of Cork County Council Southern Committee.    The Midleton based Cllr blasted the Council Executive for their lack of imagination, empathy and compassion in responding to the housing crisis. He said the Authority must open their eyes to the reality of the homeless situation, remove the padlocks from empty properties, and help ease the pain and suffering.  Director of Housing, Maurice Manning said he would be happy to discuss the cases outside the meeting.

A furious Cllr Collins pounded the desk stating that they had already been discussed, and he urged the County Manager to take over the cases.   “I have the ingredients here and received no satisfaction” he protested.    The latest numbers on the housing list were unavailable to Cllr Collins at Monday’s meeting.

However, in a report released in February by the Housing Directorate, the number of people requiring single accommodation in East Cork outstripped those seeking two, three and four bedroom properties.  Data released by the Cork County Council Housing Directorate in February shows that 903 people requesting shelter in East Cork are looking for one bedroom units.

Currently there are almost 3,000 people seeking accommodation from the Borough, 33 of which require an adapted property.   4 are on the list for a one bedroom adapted unit, with 18 seeking a two bed, 10 require a 3 bed, and a person with a disability needs a 4 bedroom adapted property. This is the first time a Municipal District has recorded such an increase in  demand for single unit occupancy. 896 People currently require 2 bedrooms, 774 require 3 bedrooms, 129 require 4 bedrooms and just one family needs a 5 bedroom property.

12 Properties are currently idle in the district, 5 of which have been handed back by tenants who no longer require the premises, with a further 7 lying unused through the Council’s long term voids.

The Housing Report also shows that just 13 units have been acquired through the Local Authority Acquisitions Programme.

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