Concern over lack of bungalows in city

A Derry mother has hit out at the lack of bungalows in the social housing sector in Derry.

Ciara Quinn has said she needs a bungalow because she has a child with severe autism and added that she has been on the waiting list for six and a half years.

Ms Quinn asked why out of 260 social houses which will be built in the city in the next year, only two are bungalows.

“My son, Caolan, is severely autistic and he had no concept of fear. He needs someone with him 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My real fear is that he would jump out of an upstairs window. When he was 18 months old I applied to the Housing Executive for a bungalow and now he is turning eight years-old and I am still waiting.

“The Housing Executive are aware of my situation and have received letters from doctors and occupational therapists but nothing has happened. When I speak to the Housing Executive they are sympathetic to my needs but tell me that there are no bungalows out there,” she explained.

The mother of three also said living in a two storey house is placing a strain on her family life. “I’m sleeping downstairs with Caolan and my other two children are upstairs. I feel like I’m taking time away from them. I have been told it could take another three years before a bungalow becomes available,” she said.

Ms Quinn said there is a growing need for bungalows in Derry. “Rates of autism are on the rise and people are always getting older. There is a real proven need for bungalows so I cannot understand why they are not being built,” she said.

Sinn Féin councillor Tony Hassan has been calling for more bungalows for a number of years. “I am calling on whoever is the DSD minister after the Assembly election to hold a debate on the issue and make it a priority.”