SLEEPING ON THE STREETS

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News

A man in his twenties has told how he slept in a doorway close to Ballycastle’s seafront for three nights before a friend offered him shelter.

The shocking case was highlighted by Causeway Coast and Glens councillor Padraig McShane at a meeting of Council last Tuesday night.

Cllr McShane highlighted the man’s plight as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive made a presentation to councillors.

He told members that local man Darren Caulfield didn’t have enough points to get a Housing Executive home and had no finances to enable him to get housing through the private sector.

Speaking to The Times, Mr Caulfield, who has now taken up accommodation at a shelter in Belfast, said that sleeping on the streets was not something he had planned for himself: “One minute I am living in the comfortable surroundings of my apartment, then in just a few short weeks I am in the freezing cold wondering what on earth just happened.

“Homelessness is an awful feeling, with the difficulty of getting food and of course heat.”

Councillor McShane said he fears there may be more cases.

“I never thought that something like this would manifest here in Ballycastle. I am really shocked by the whole situation.

“Homelessness was something confined to Belfast or Dublin but I never thought I would hear of a case in Ballycastle.”

The Glens councillor said that he feared there would be more cases like this, and blamed the Government for placing a cap on borrowing for organisations such as the Housing Executive.

“This cap is preventing bodies like the Housing Executive, who do a good job, from building better lives for people, this in turn would build better communities.

“Temperatures are dropping and this certainly isn’t the time for someone to be sleeping on our streets.”

Commenting on the case at Tuesday night’s Council meeting, Frank O’Connor from the Housing Executive told members that the Housing Executive works with a charity to help in situations like this.

He said that in some cases, the charity will even provide a deposit for the person to enable them to rent privately.

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