‘We only have each other’: family who slept in tent ‘relieved’ to get accommodation

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleIrish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
Samantha Tyndall (32), a hairdresser; her partner Clay McDonald (31), a carpenter; and their children, aged 2, 10 and 11, had spent a number of months between hostels and a tent until Saturday night when a couple living adjacent to Herbert Park in Ballsbridge took them in to stay over the weekend

The tents - one of which was used for their belongings- remained by sports pitches in the park over the weekend. The couple who accommodated the family said they "just couldn't go home and leave those beautiful children there in the cold, in a tent".

The park, located metres from the American and British embassies, is in the heart of Dublin 4.

Ms Tyndall and Mr McDonald say their tenancy in Newtownmountkennedy, Co Wicklow, was terminated as their landlord was selling the property.

"The notice was legal," says Ms Tyndall. "We had to go at the start of July. We are approved for HAP [housing assistance payment], for €1,950, and a deposit is there too but no landlord will take it."

She is originally from Bray and was on the social-housing list in Co Wicklow. Mr McDonald, who is from Shankill, Co Dublin, is on the list in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

This appears to have resulted in difficulties accessing emergency accommodation as a family. While Ms Tyndall was placed in a bed & breakfast in Dublin city-centre with the children, Mr MacDonald was placed in a series of hostels for single adults.

"My son (2) has autism and he really needs his routine with Clay," says Ms Tyndall. "The girls have been really scared without him. It's been rough. The places Clay was in there were people [using drugs]. One man was injecting into his leg on Clay's bed - blood everywhere. He decided he'd prefer to sleep in a tent."

The couple now have a joint social housing application with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) but were still unable to access family emergency accommodation.

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