Family on medical priority housing list plea for help
Gemma is on the medical priority housing list

Family on medical priority housing list plea for help

A WOMAN who has a 37-year-old sister with Down Syndrome is pleading for help as she has been on the medical priority housing transfer list for almost two and a half years, here she speaks about the emotional affect it is having on her sister.

Tallaght woman Linda Lambert says that her sister Gemma (37) is forced to share a room and a bed with her 11-year-old daughter as she has been waiting on the list to move into a bigger house for two years and five months.

Linda, her sister Gemma, her 11-year-old daughter and her 19-year-old son currently live in a three-bedroom house in Fortunestown, Tallaght, and are looking to be transferred to a bigger three-bedroom or four-bedroom house to suit their needs.

Gemma has different medical needs, including needing catheterization three times a day, as Linda says she needs and deserves the privacy and dignity of her own bedroom.

“Every time I ring the council, I am told it goes by time basis and I could be waiting years,” Linda told The Echo.

“That is no good for Gemma at 37-years-old. People with down syndrome have a short life span anyway and as a young woman she should be entitled to her privacy and dignity. She needs to be catheterized three times a day, and because she sleeps in a bed with my 11-year-old, I have to make sure that she is downstairs, and my son is downstairs otherwise she has no dignity.

Speaking about the affect the situation is having on Gemma, Linda says she has become stressed and overwhelmed at the lack of privacy and space.

“She is asking me every day, ‘when am I getting my own room?’ and saying that it isn’t fair,” said Linda. “When she gets stressed about things, she finds it really hard to express her feelings inside.

“I am in my bedroom trying to sleep at night and she will come in with me and then some nights I have to put my daughter in beside me so I can give her the room to herself because it gets so overwhelming for her.”

In a statement to The Echo, South Dublin County Council said: “The average time on list, for those housed in 2021 from the medical priority list in the Tallaght area, is 6.25 years.

“Our construction and allocations teams continue to work on planning for the delivery of new homes to meet the existing medical priority needs of applicants on our housing list.”

According to South Dublin County Council, if you are eligible for social housing, priority status for housing may be awarded if certain criteria apply to your household such as  you or someone in your household has a disability or a medical condition and the current accommodation is not suitable to meet the needs of the person with a disability or medical condition and a change in housing will improve or stabilise the circumstances of the person with a disability or medical condition.

It is noted that on the application form for the South Dublin County medical priority list that it is operated on a ‘time on list basis’.

“They just don’t think that she is a priority,” Gemma added.

“The council has been given medical reports, occupational therapists reports and letters from her day service and social worker all of which does not seem to make a difference.”

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