10 June 2005

Irelandclick.com

Executive offers UVF threat victim house in loyalist area

The Housing Executive offered a North Belfast man, who is under loyalist death threat and was forced to leave his home, a flat with red, white and blue kerbstones outside.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said he was “baffled” at the “bizarre” offer to house him in Henderson Avenue at the top of the Cavehill Road in an area close to Ballysillan.
The Housing Executive later apologised to the 25-year-old who received a bullet through his letterbox along with a threat from the UVF.
Officials also agreed to remove the offer from his file that would mean he would only have two more offers under a three offer rule.
It’s not the first time the Housing Executive has bungled an emergency housing application.
Two years ago the Meekin family who had to move out of Ligoniel after daughter Emma revealed pensioner John O’Neill had sexually abused her, was subsequently offered a house in the same estate they had been forced to move out of.
“I received the bullet last year and I applied for alternative housing,” said the loyalist threat victim.
“I was given 310 points and I’m shifting about living with relatives and friends at the moment. I couldn’t believe it when they offered me Henderson Avenue with the kerbs painted red, white and blue. I felt very intimidated.”
A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive confirmed that the offer was made for Henderson Avenue, but despite the painted kerbstones, claimed the area was “mixed”.
“This man presented to the Housing Executive as homeless in November 2004 citing intimidation from his privately rented accommodation. As is standard Housing Executive practice he was offered temporary accommodation and furniture storage until the circumstances had been investigated, but made his own arrangements,” she said.
“After investigation, and confirmation from PSNI, he was awarded full duty applicant status and is currently appearing on the waiting list for permanent housing in the Oldpark and Cliftonville areas.
“He was offered permanent accommodation at Oldpark Road but this offer was refused. He was also offered permanent accommodation at Henderson Avenue, which is a mixed area, and again this was refused. However, after speaking to the applicant the district office have agreed that this will not be treated as a formal offer.
“The district office is sympathetic to this man’s situation and will make every effort to rehouse him as quickly as possible in his chosen areas of choice.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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