I know what it’s like to have no home. When my relationship broke down I had to rely on the kindness of my mam to take me, two children and a baby bump into her home. As my mother, there was no question for her as to where I would go. I was very lucky and extremely grateful.
Not everyone has a mother to turn to.
You see, when you get to 35 and you are living with your parents, you are not living at home. You are living in their home.
The traditional model is that you grow up and when you start to earn money, off you go with yourself – whether that’s to rent or buy or travel. Parents aspire to have their children leave home and create their own little place in the world.
So now not only do 35 year olds feel bad that they can’t afford to move out, their parents feel guilty if they are not in a position to throw them the thirty grand to help them get onto the property ladder.
Borrowing from older generations is not a solution to the problem that we have with housing in this country.
I faced living with my mother for a long time. I had many worries. I worried that overstaying my welcome would have a negative effect on our relationship. I worried that my children would never have a real sense of belonging ; it would always be Nanny’s House.
Everyone should have the opportunity to have their own home.
That doesn’t mean that everyone has to own but if you rent you should have some security. Long-term leases are common in other countries. Here if you don’t own, you live on the edge not knowing what the following year will bring. Having a home is about security.
It seems to be a pipe dream for so many.
From my mother’s sitting room I worked hard at getting housed, approaching anyone who would listen. Local TDs, my local family resource center and of course, the County Council, all got visits and letters regularly to plead my case.
I was blessed in that an approved voluntary housing association called Tuath had acquired a number of homes in Kilkenny. I was called for an interview and a couple of weeks later I got a letter saying I was being offered a home. Offered…as if I’d refuse!
I can empathise so much with people trying to get on the property ladder. I can also sympathise with parents who want to help their children, many risking their own financial security in the process.
I will never forget the feeling of knowing that this would be my home for the next 19 years. It was if I could breathe out for the first time in years.
This shouldn’t be a luxury; this is a necessity.
In the past, the government has suggested that people go to their parents for help. Instead of telling people to go have a word with their folks, why doesn’t the government have a word with the banks or the E.U. or whoever it is that governs this mess?
Talk to the people on the ground who are living this daily. Come up with a solution. Just because it was done in the past certainly does not make it a way forward for the future.