A WOMAN renting a studio apartment on the north side of the city has been sleeping on sofas due to the unbearable conditions she is being forced to endure.
Sharon Downey, who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, has been living in damp and mouldy conditions that are exacerbating her illness.
“The mould causes inflammation and Rheumatoid Arthritis is inflammation. It makes me stiff and sore.”
At the moment Sharon is living in one of nine studio apartments in a four-storey house. Ms Downey, originally from Mayo, has been living in Cork for the past five years and renting close to Coburg Street for the past year and a half.
The part-time artist said she never intended to spend a long-term spell at her current accommodation and only moved in when her old landlord raised the rent by €200 a month.
“It was only ever meant to be part-time, but I can’t find a suitable place so I am stuck there,” Ms Downey said. “I have been looking for a place to stay every day since January. It is soul-destroying and depressing.”
Mr Downey said that she is discriminated against for having a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).
“When you are on HAP you know you are at the bottom of the list. Before they were honest about it, but now you are given the runaround. I would prefer to be told that they don’t accept HAP than waste time viewing a place that I haven’t a chance of getting.”
The house-hunter said the search for a place to call home is soul-destroying: “It is very disheartening. There is a 99% likelihood that I am not going to get anywhere. I think I’m going to go insane. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. I am fighting a losing battle. It’s just horrible.”
At the moment Sharon is staying with friends and is avoiding her rented accommodation.
“It is horrendous. When I am staying there, I wake up and want to leave immediately. I don’t want to go back.”