LESS than three months after being saved from homelessness, a 22-year-old member of the Travelling community said the chalet she has been allocated in Clonakilty is seriously compromising her health.
Naomi Williamson said she had a meeting with Council officials last week but contacted The Southern Star to highlight her situation because she believes she is ‘getting nowhere.’
She spoke of her enormous sense of relief when the local authority provided her, and her partner, with a chalet at the Moses Road halting site but joy turned to despair as mold filled her tiny home.
‘I’ve developed asthma since I moved to the site and my doctor has put me on an inhaler because the chalet is damp, wet and mouldy,’ she said. ‘There is mould on the walls, above the electricity box, and it’s all over my bedroom. There’s mold under my sink and the shower is mouldy too.
Naomi said she has cleaned it, using bleach, but it just comes back ‘10 times worse.’
As a woman who deals with ‘very bad depression’, Naomi said her living circumstances are making it worse.
Meanwhile, a pre-existing medical condition of anaemia means walking to and from town – which is a few miles away – is not an option.
Naomi said she can’t walk such distances on her own because she could collapse as a result of her anaemia.
‘I don’t drive,’ she said, ‘and a taxi each way is €10. I don’t have that kind of money.
‘When I pass out my doctor sends me to hospital for transfusions or puts me on higher doses of iron,’ she added.
Naomi is afraid she will be stuck in the chalet because ‘if you sign something you have to stay for two years before you can get a transfer.
‘I was literally homeless when the Council offered me the halting site and I felt like I had to take it. I had nowhere else to go,’ she said. ‘It was here or the streets.
‘I was happy at the start, but after two or three weeks – the mould started showing and that’s when my health got bad,’ she said. Naomi has another health issue that she says makes her accommodation unsuitable for her needs.
One month before she turned two, her arm was very badly burned by water from a boiling kettle and now she holds it at a 90-degree angle and cannot lift heavy objects.
Getting into the chalet, manoeuvring, and cooking food in cramped conditions, are reasons why it is not suitable, she said.
Before going to press, The Southern Star contacted Cork County Council and requested a comment.