Belfast mum of three on homelessness impact on her family and health

Amanda Daly with two of her children
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

A woman from Belfast has opened up on how her experience in temporary accommodation is impacting her health and her family.

Amanda Daly, 31, has been living in temporary accommodation for the past month with her three young children, and is currently based at a site with no kitchen or washing machine.

Amanda has Crohn's disease and a rare skin condition, pyoderma gangrenosum, which causes large, painful sores to develop on her skin, with her legs worst affected. She said the uncertainty of temporary accommodation is causing stress for her and her family, with fears moving around could worsen her health as the medication she is on weakens her immune system.

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With her three children, Amanda is currently living in one room, and said she waits for a call from the Housing Executive to see if she will be moved or if she will stay where she is for another night. They have been in their current location for the past three weeks.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Amanda said: "We're currently just in one room. This is causing a lot of mental stress, we've been here for three weeks now.

"I currently don't have a kitchen or anywhere to wash our clothes. I have a special diet due to Crohn's disease so I can't eat takeaways, and I don't know how people are expected to afford takeaways.

"Here we have nothing, there's a shower, kettle, and a wee TV in your room. Every day I ring the Housing Executive and it's like a triage system so they give me a call back, but it's somebody different every time I speak to them.

"When you get a call back they tell you where you're going to be, so it's not like they ring and say I'll be here for the week, they ring me every day. The only time they tell you where you'll be for a couple of days is a Friday as they don't work over the weekend.

The temporary accommodation Amanda and her three children are currently living in
The temporary accommodation Amanda and her three children are currently living in -Credit:Submitted

"But on the Monday, you need to be up and packed, you're waiting on the call as you need to be out by 11 everywhere you are. It has affected my oldest girl, she's seven and getting trailed everywhere, all her toys and everything other than her clothes and tablet is in storage as I only have a small car and have the double pram and cot to bring about too.

"I don't want special treatment or anything like that, I just want somewhere where I know I'm going to be for a while. Somewhere where my daughter can get her stuff, she's crying for it, it's hard on her too."

Amanda said it has been difficult to navigate her housing situation alongside treatment for her health conditions. She said the Housing Executive had previously offered her housing in Omagh but that it was too far away from her support network.

"I have a disability in my legs so can't drive far, I have a car but can't drive long distances. I have urgency due to Crohn's and had part of my bowel removed, so it causes stress as I could need to go to the toilet often. I don't know what way I'm going to be from one day to the next," Amanda explained.

"I'm exhausted. I'm in the Royal for a few hours every couple of weeks on a drip, my immune system is low due to Crohn's so the moving around isn't good.

"My young kids haven't had their vaccinations yet, they couldn't get them due to the medicine I was on when I was pregnant, they can't have their vaccinations until they're a year old. So I'm panicking in case they get sick due to all the moving around. I have my family support, God help anybody who doesn't have that and are going through this alone."

A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said they try to keep stays in temporary accommodation "as brief as possible" and will continue to work to find a suitable housing solution.

They said: “In April this year, this household asked us to provide temporary accommodation after sharing arrangements had broken down. A number of options for temporary accommodation were declined at this time and they opted to make their own arrangements.

“We were approached again June 17 and emergency, temporary accommodation was arranged at their current location. As with any placement in emergency accommodation, we always try to keep stays as brief as possible.

“We contact the family each day and can confirm that we have no record of any complaints about the standard of accommodation offered and accepted in any of these daily contacts. We will continue to work with this household to find a suitable housing solution in case.”

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