New Year in my New Home: CHI Member Catia discusses life in her new home in Beech Park
January 4, 2023
“For New Year’s Eve, I’ll probably have friends over, or I’ll go over to them and visit them in their homes. We’re away from family, so it’ll be something we celebrate with our close friends.” – CHI Member Catia discusses life in her new home in Beech Park
Beech Park is a development on the southern outskirts of Carlow town delivered by Co-operative Housing Ireland
My name is Catia, I’m Portuguese but living in Ireland for the past 17 years. Before getting this CHI home I was renting. It was very hard, especially in the last few years, the price of houses to rent has increased a lot. It was a struggle, particularly as a single mother with two kids, as my rent went up to €1,000, and this year it was supposed to be €1,200. Where I was renting before was a good house, it was a big home with three bedrooms but paying for it was horrible, it was so hard to afford, especially on top of bills.
When I got the letter to say I’d been offered this home with CHI I was very happy. The houses here are lovely and I find the neighbourhood is nice, the people here are very good. I was living in the same estate for the last 16 years and the neighbourhood there was very friendly, I was worried when we were moving here that everything would be different in this community, but we’ve been very, very lucky. I was living in another estate here in Carlow town, so I had a good idea of the area and the services. I don’t drive so I was a little bit concerned that we’re further out of town than where I was, because if you need to move something big or get something from the shops it can be awkward. I do wish Carlow had more public transport. Even just a bus that went around the estates to bring people shopping!
Our landlady in the last place was a nice person. I was renting there for a long time, so I had a load of things that I changed in the house because of course we wanted to make it a little bit cosier. So, I moved a lot of things and decorated the place nicely especially when Kayden was born. I changed the floor from carpet to wood and gave the house a good lick of paint, but I knew that it was always going to be a rented place and if the rent went any higher, I knew that I couldn’t support paying it, so when I got the letter for here I knew that it was a great opportunity. When you stay for a long period in a house, you want to really feel like it’s your home and if there’s a few things that you’re able to change to make it more comfortable for yourself and for your family you’re going to do it. We’re Portuguese, we value investing in our homes.
I got the keys to this place in April and moved in on my birthday on 22nd May. In the meantime, I had tradespeople in getting the place ready, doing the tiling and so forth. For me, to be honest, it’s the best birthday gift. It was amazing. The budget to get the work I needed done before moving in was tight. Nearly all the money I had to spend went on the floor, and there are small bits in the house that I still have to do and I’ll do those things myself. For example, I still have some painting to do in Kayden’s room, and I’ll do that myself. Things became very expensive everywhere recently and I went to look for the cheapest options that I could and investigated what was on offer. I’m very lucky that the people who did the floor I found through friends, so they’ve allowed me to pay them at the end of the month bit by bit.
It was tough on my daughter Miriam when we were moving, she’s 18 and has just finished her leaving cert so moving house at the end of May was tough for her because she had to study. I told her all she needed to look after was her room and I’d get the rest of the house ready for us. She really likes the new house and how cosy it is, so she’s happy altogether.
I heard that they’re going to build some creches near Éire Óg, but there’s already one closeby, and I put Kayden’s name in there and there are some other schools ten minutes’ walk from here.
I’m looking forward to a new year in this new home, to have our health and to being happy. We’ve all had a bit of the flu recently, but we’re feeling much better now. For New Year’s Eve, I’ll probably have friends over, or I’ll go over to them and visit them in their homes. We’re away from family, so it’ll be something we celebrate with our close friends.
Co-operative Housing Ireland is an Approved Housing Body (AHB) and works closely with various stakeholders in the housing sector, including Local Authorities, Government, aspiring home owners, tenants and developers, to provide high quality social-rented and home ownership co-operative homes across the country. CHY 6522 Registered Charity Number 20012182