Delight as tent family offered temporary house

Paul Fisher pictured with his son, 2 years-old Ethan, inside the tent where they have lived for six months, at his parent's Rinmore Drive home in Creggan. DER3013JM50

Paul Fisher pictured with his son, 2 years-old Ethan, inside the tent where they have lived for six months, at his parent's Rinmore Drive home in Creggan. DER3013JM50

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A young family who have been living in a tent in Creggan, as no suitable Housing Executive accommodation was available, say they’ve now been offered temporary housing in Rosemount.

This week the Sunday Journal highlighted the case of Paul Fisher, who along with his partner Audrey Buchanan and their two year old son Ethan, moved into the tent in his parent’s garden in Rinmore Drive. The couple did so because the Northern Ireland Housing Executive were only able to offer them accommodation outside of Derry.

Yesterday the Northern Ireland Housing Executive wrote to the young family with a summary of their housing points. They then informed them that a house in Rosemount had become available. Speaking yesterday afternoon a delighted Paul said: “We are due to view it this evening but as long as the roof isn’t leaking and we’ve hot water we’ll be taking it.”

Paul explained: “The NIHE originally offered us temporary accommodation in places like Ards and Bangor, and a few other places up the country. I don’t have a car to drive and need to be in Derry in case my parents need help. My father has a bad back so I need to be here in case things need lifted. I have to be here to help them.

“We were settling down and expecting a long wait,” said Paul. “We were prepared for a long haul.”

“It has been a tough few days, it was no fun staying in a tent with the rain and weather conditions. We got through them anyway. You lie in the tent thinking of all the houses in Creggan that are currently boarded up and how we’d love to live in one of those. The tent is not the warmest but it isn’t cold and we are dry. We just tell each other it is only temporary. We’ll eventually get a house somewhere but it is adding to the stress and the wain is having a hard time sleeping.”

Paul said his partner Audrey, couldn’t sleep during the first two nights. Audrey added: “It is awful. The conditions are terrible. We hear a lot of people walking past the tent during the night. Last night was the first night I slept and someone threw something at tent which really scared us. That woke the wain in the middle of the night.”

Paul extended his thanks to the local politicians and neighbours who have helped and supported him.

“Our neighbours are all supportive, they’ve been quite nice about the situation. Lots of people do shout and point as they pass but that doesn’t bother me. Audrey would be embarrassed by the situation but as I said to her, we have no choices.”