A LOCAL estate agent is helping to house health workers on the frontline battling Covid-19 – for free.
House to Home Estate Agents, based on the Antrim Road decided to do their bit during the crisis to reach out to doctors and nurses treating patients with the deadly virus.
Catherine McDyre, from the small family-run business, explained the idea is that nurses, doctors and healthcare workers can have somewhere to live, free of charge and without the worry of going home and potentially spreading the infection to family members.
“As an estate agents, things are slow due to the crisis. We were aware of some vacant properties so I contacted hotels, Airbnb, landlords and other contacts to see if we could help out our healthcare workers.
“To date, we have housed 46 doctors and nurses and by the end of the week, we hope to house another 80.
“We just wanted to do all we could to help NHS and frontline staff.
“I didn’t realise how big the demand was going to be. We are helping people from all over the city.”
One person who is truly grateful of the kind gesture is Anna Betts, a 26-year-old paediatric Year 2 doctor at Belfast City Hospital.
She explained how she got in touch with House to Home Estate Agents after a post on Facebook was shared hundreds of times.
“I was living with my parents but very cautious of exposing my family if I picked up anything at work.
“I put a post up on Facebook about trying to find alternative accommodation and I was recommended House to Home Estate Agents.
“I sent them a message at 9pm one night and despite that, Catherine got back to me straight away.
“The next day she called me back and told me there was a property available close to my work for myself and two other colleagues who I work with.”
Anna is now living within walking distance of the City Hospital in South Belfast and is encouraging others on the frontline to get in touch with the estate agents.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got somewhere. I actually cried. It was such a quick and efficient process and Catherine was so helpful.
“It is difficult because I can’t see my family for a period of time but I would rather that and know they are safe.
“I would never have forgiven myself if I knew I had put my family and loved ones at risk.
“I would encourage others who find themselves in a similar situation to me to get in touch with Catherine and House to Home Estate Agents.”
Maphi Sanchez, a nurse at Arches Care Home in East Belfast has also been re-housed.
“I was living before with a housemate who tested positive for Covid-19,” he explained.
“I got in touch with House to Home Estate Agents and they managed to get me somewhere to live on my own.
“It was a quick and easy process and I am very grateful for their help and kindness during this difficult time.”
House to Home Estate Agents have vacant property available to NHS and frontline staff only.
If you, or anyone you know could benefit from this, please get in touch on 07402 209293