A WOMAN says she’s been forced to live in her car and wash in the ocean because she can’t find suitable housing.
Sharon Crandall, 54, has been living in her motor for two months while parked at Dingle beach in Kerry.
She claims she can’t find any housing that suits her – but she’s also refusing to give up her two cats.
The 54-year-old says the lack of available housing which allows pets to stay with their owners in the area has left her in the bizarre living situation.
Sharon, who is originally from America, has been staying in her car since July after 22 years living in Ireland.
She said she is prepared to make the sacrifice as it means her cats can stay with her.
Sharon told the Irish Mirror: “I have been living in my car since July 8th, with two cats, and I have not gone to emergency housing because you have to give up your family; your pets are your family.
“And so I have been living at the beach here, you know, for almost two months now, and it’s up and down, it’s hard.
”I’m not homeless because I didn’t pay my bills, or did something wrong. Or I wasn’t organised. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. I am homeless because there aren’t any long-term housing options in this area.”
Sharon had to leave the property she was renting after her 18 month agreement ran out.
Now living in her car on the beach, she has set up her cats’ food bowls on her dashboard, goes into town every two days to buy food and washes regularly in the sea.
She said: “I get up and I swim at 7.30 in the sea. It’s quite peaceful and I can change clothes at that hour and then leave my stuff drip-drying outside the car and hope it gets dry.
“The car can smell a bit funky, Febreze would be your friend. Even with a lot of airflow, between my hair and the cats’ hair and the damp stuff that’s drying… I get rid of my rubbish every two days when I do the groceries but confined space can smell a little funky. I’ve just got used to it.”
Sharon continues to look for housing by scouring through websites, magazines and even making direct appeals to owners of empty houses on the Land Registry website.
She has so far come up short, with her beloved pets often proving a sticking point.
The American adds: ” It’s awkward. There are people that won’t let me stay with them because I have a cat.
“Cats aren’t well liked in Ireland. I mean there are people that like cats but it is surprising how much people don’t like cats. So that has been a problem.”
But Sharon has vowed to fight on despite her difficult situation.
She said: “People do have a right to have a place to live. Housing is a human right. Here I am, and I didn’t expect to be here.
“Nobody expects to be here. I’m not a drug user, I’m not an alcoholic. Most people are not. But I did pay my bills, I wasn’t kicked out for non-payment of rent. I am here through no fault of my own.”
Source: The Sun