A Co. Armagh family-of-nine, who have been told by the Housing Executive there is no available accommodation for them, could be homeless this Christmas.
The Portadown family, including seven children under the age of 14, were informed by their landlord earlier this year that he wished to take the privately rented property back.
Due to the length of time the family resided at the placed they called home – nearly six years – they were afforded eight weeks to make alternative arrangements – but that has been harder than they could have ever imagined.
After contacting the Housing Executive they were told they would require a five bedroom property, however, there were none available, and unlikely to be available anytime soon.
The options given to the family included: being registered homeless; splitting up the family; privately renting; or living in a family hostel in Belfast.
The family have been trying to find private accommodation ever since their landlord broke the news to them, but that search has so far proven fruitless.
One family member, speaking to Armagh I, said: “There are very few out there, in fact, one particular estate agent has said that a landlord would have to be asked if he would allow a family of that size to reside there before they even get a viewing.”
Try as they might, the family have been unable to find a home and with a deadline of the November 24 looming, time is running out.
They have explored other options, such as living with other family members but this would require them to split up, which they say, opens a multitude of problems.
One of the family’s young children suffers from autism and the kids attend four different schools throughout Co. Armagh.
Just this week the family have been speaking with storage companies in order to pack up their belongings, another stress to add to the heap.
“Anything would be better than splitting the family up, even taking a three bedroom house at this stage, just to avoid this scenario, but even that is simply not on the table,” said the family member.
The Housing Executive said that they are aware of the case but cannot comment on individual cases due to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).