Seeing the kids growing up there made me think something is not right and I wanted to help

“Not too long ago, I started to volunteer with St Vincent de Paul and I got to see some of the HAP scheme apartments in the North Inner City. It shocked me to see these tiny studios. They were basically just a room with a shared kitchen and bathroom in one corner. People with addiction and mental health issues often sharing the space with single mothers and their children. Seeing the kids growing up there made me think something is not right and I wanted to help. At the time we were all talking about the housing crisis, but on the other hand, I heard about older people in these big 3-5 bed family houses in the suburbs facing financial difficulties to keep their houses running. People on the radio were suggesting that those elderly people should move out to give space for young families… I just thought that was very rude. A home isn’t just about the house itself, it’s their neighbour, Mary next door, the park nearby, the local church or the sports club… I thought that there must be another way. Then, I remembered years ago, back in my 20’s, I lived in London and in Bermuda. Both of those places had a very high demand for housing. Homeowners, after their children moved out, tried to use the extra space as efficiently as possible by converting and renting out parts of their homes. In London, I lived in one of these tiny ‘Coronation Street’ style houses. The landlord was a man called Barney. He lived downstairs and I rented the upstairs part of the house. I had my own kitchen and bathroom and I loved living there because it gave me a sense of security. I didn’t have to be alone because Mr Barney was always around, but I was still totally independent. That’s where the idea for Ava Housing came from. It’s such a no-brainer and for some people, will tick all the boxes. Obviously, this won’t solve the housing crisis, but it is great to have a different option for people to consider. We successfully converted one house in 2018 and the owner and new tenant are extremely happy. With the help of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, we received funds to convert five more houses this year and I cannot be more excited!”

‘Ava Housing’ is an Awardee of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and received funding and support from them to develop their project. Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is currently open for applications for people with an idea or project tackling a social issue. They have €500,000 in funding and support available but you have to be quick, their deadline for applications is closing midnight 21st of March. Find out more here: