by Bernie English
“RECEIVING the keys was like winning the lotto. I don’t think we’re over the shock of it.”
That’s how much getting the keys to her family’s forever home in Mungret means to Davina Slattery.
Before moving to the Bunacloka Heights Co-operative Housing Ireland (CHI) house, Davina, her partner, Brendan Meehan and their children were living in a cramped apartment with no real security and no place for the children to play.
“The apartment was a lot different than having your own house. We had no back garden or front area for the kids to play in it. I had to share facilities for washing clothes and I had a flight of steps to carry the kids’ car seats up.
“There was nowhere really for the kids to play or relax in unless they went to their bedrooms. It was very cramped when we were all together in the sitting room.”
Davina can’t believe how different this Christmas will be for the family.
“Now we have a back garden and there’s space to play for the kids and their friends to play.
“Our lives have completely changed since we got the new place and it’s amazing. We had no security in our old place, we didn’t know the day that we would have to go, it could have been sold at any point and that hangs over you. We always knew we couldn’t stay there forever. This place is our home.”
The children don’t have to commute across town anymore to go to school.
“There are days when you pull up outside the house and you stare and say, ‘Oh my God this is real?’. It’s a massive thing to move into a new home, especially with young kids. They have their home, they have their back garden, they have their friends – this is all we ever wanted,” said Davina.
“Everyone in our lives now knows about CHI. It’s given our children a future – you couldn’t have gotten better. We’re so blessed. Niamh, the housing officer, is like a part of our family even though she doesn’t know. This is the start to many wonderful Christmases in our forever home.”
Co-operative Housing Ireland is the not-for profit national organisation representing, promoting and developing co-operative housing in Ireland.
CHI is one of Ireland’s largest Approved Housing Bodies working with local authorities and others to meet the housing needs of low-income households.