A Derry grandfather with a string of health complaints has spoken of his fears that he is on the brink of homelessness after being served with an eviction notice.
Patrick McFadden, who lives in the Rosemount area, has been ordered to quit his privately-rented house because of rent arrears stretching back several months.
The Derry man said that while his landlords have always been extremely patient and helpful, he has been unable to find the extra money needed on top of his housing benefit to make up the £120 weekly rent.
In a further twist, the 48-year-old, who was recently assessed as homeless by the Housing Executive, has also received “confusing” letters from the organisation over recent months telling him he was being removed from the waiting list and that the Housing Benefit he was receiving was being stopped because he hadn’t replied to previous letters he said he has never received.
Mr McFadden, who suffers from depression triggered by a series of family tragedies 12 years ago, a heart condition, diabetes and a range of other health complaints, said relatives are becoming increasingly anxious for his welfare.
Mr McFadden said that as well as rent arrears, his financial situation has become so critical that he has been unable to buy oil to heat the house he had moved into last year, and is now trying to keep warm with a little electric bar heater which has been donated to him.
“I feel like I’ve been relegated to a non-person,” he said. “I feel as if there is this silence, as if nothing is coming back to me.”
Mr McFadden said he had planned to share the house with his son as his carer. However his son is a young father himself and relocated as the cold conditions were unsuitable for a child.
Speaking about his health issues, Mr McFadden said: “Twelve years ago my mother, father and brother died within 13 weeks and I suffered from a heart attack 13 weeks later, and had to under go a triple bypass.”
Mr McFadden applied for social housing in 2013 and has supplied medical evidence of his depression, diabetes, asthma and carpel tunnel syndrome.
He also supplied a report after his doorbell was set on fire.
He said however that HE correspondence has become confusing, adding that his son was recently told Mr McFadden has just six points during a visit eto a local office.
Having been unable to find alternative accommodation, his situation is now desperate:
“My family is afraid my health will be undermined.”
A Housing Executive spokeswoman said: “We have assessed Mr McFadden’s housing situation and have accepted that he is homeless.
“We have arranged for a housing officer to call with Mr McFadden to discuss the details of his application to help him with his options in terms of accommodation and housing needs. This will also take into account his entitlement to housing benefit.
“We will do everything we can to help Mr McFadden.”