An ex-soldier who was made homeless has been forced to sleep in his car – outside the very house he used to rent, which has lain vacant since it was sold to the council.
Ray Lloyd (44) is pleading for a roof over his head and says he can’t take much more of living in his clapped-out Fiat Punto, which is parked in an estate in Mulhuddart.
He was given notice to quit by his landlord, who is a relative, on May 18 after he decided to sell the property to Fingal County Council. Ray has been living in his car ever since.
He told Dublin Gazette: “If it wasn’t for the staff in the nearby community centre letting me use the bathroom to have a wash and shave, I’d be lost.”
He added: “The car was broken into one night when I was asleep in it. I was covered in broken glass.”
Ray has been visited by the council’s outreach team for rough sleepers. But, as of Wednesday, he was still sleeping in his car and he says it’s now affecting his mental health.
He said: “The car doesn’t even go – the clutch is gone. Otherwise, I’d be out of here and gone down the country somewhere. I have nowhere to go, nothing to do. I’m getting depressed.
“I’ve no leg room to get a decent sleep. I’ve got nothing, only the clothes on my back and two duvets in the back of the car. I go over to the community centre to have a wash and a shave.
“Then I try to go somewhere to stretch my legs out. But then it’s back to the car. I don’t always manage to get three meals a day. I’ve never been in this situation before. It’s just that the house was sold from underneath me.”
Local Cllr Mary McCamley (Lab) has pleaded Ray’s case with the council and he’s applied for emergency accommodation. He cannot stay in a homeless hostel, on medical grounds.
She told Dublin Gazette: “I noticed him coming in to the [community] centre, and saw him going into the toilet with his bag to have a wash. It’s an appalling situation to be in.
“It must be a nightmare for anyone in that predicament, worse than a nightmare. I do know Fingal [County Council] are proactive and we’re building more houses than most. We are due 1,500 units in Mulhuddart. But it doesn’t seem to be enough.
“It just seems so utterly sad that no matter what we do, the housing situation is just getting worse.”
Fingal County Council said the property in question was purchased with vacant possession and transferred to the council on August 1 and was undergoing pre-let repairs.
It said there were four vacant council-owned houses in the estate at “varying stages of the pre-letting process”.
A council spokesperson added: “Fingal County Council does not normally comment in specific detail in relation to individual cases, for data protection and other reasons.
“Any information received in relation to persons who are at risk of rough sleeping are followed up by council staff and referred to the homeless outreach team for further action.”
Ray said he was hoping to have a roof over his head before the winter sets in. He added: “This is killing me. I woke up yesterday morning, and I said: ‘I give up’. I can’t take much more.”