A WEST Belfast woman on the Covid vulnerable list is moving from sofa to sofa after being forced from her home by loyalist paramilitaries.
Natasha Bradley was made homeless in March after men armed with baseball bats attacked her friend’s car outside her home In Tildarg Avenue in the Suffolk estate.
The 23-year-old suffers from ulcerative colitis and Chron’s disease and was placed in the ‘high risk’ category during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she has been forced to put herself at further risk by moving from house to house during lockdown.
The news comes a week after the UDA was behind an intimidation bid in Finaghy during which a senior figure in the loyalist paramilitary group was punched to the ground by a schoolboy.
Speaking to the Andersonstown News, Natasha described how the UDA turned up at her door after her housemate became involved in a dispute with neighbouring residents.
“The UDA came to the door and our landlord spoke to them,” she said.
“They said that she had to leave, but she’s a Protestant and I’m a Catholic.
“They knew I was Catholic and they said I was safe to stay, but they said that if my housemate went against them then they couldn’t guarantee my safety. That was on the Sunday.
They knew I was Catholic and they said I was safe to stay, but they said that if my housemate went against them then they couldn’t guarantee my safety. That was on the Sunday.
“Eventually she left and the landlord was happy for me to take the full tenancy to myself, but then the windows on my friend’s car were put through on two different occasions outside my house – days apart.
“The first night they attacked the car we were going out to get something to eat and noticed the back window was put through. We rang the police, they came out and wanted to see the CCTV, but of course no cameras had picked it up.
“Six days later I heard banging and I looked out and there were two fellas at the car with bats bashing it up.
“We ran out, and they said, ‘You were warned – get out or we’ll put you out, you’re not welcome here.’”
Natasha’s mum, Sinead McGrath, said that despite reporting her daughter’s health problems to the Housing Executive on multiple occasion her pleas have been “ignored”.
“She has 90 housing points at the minute, but they wouldn’t tell me what the 90 points are for,” said Sinead. “I’m still waiting for the letter getting sent out.
“Once she got the 90 points her back was against a wall. They wouldn’t give her a single let. Now, Natasha has a lifelong illness and she hasn’t been very well.
“I explained this whole thing from the very start and it was ignored.”
Natasha said the Housing Executive had offered her “shared accommodation”, which she insists is unsuitable due to her health problems.
Her mum branded the situation as “scandalous”.
“My worry is that I won’t see her the next day,” she stated. “She’s living out of boxes. I’ve been petrified.
“She can’t stay with me because I’m ill myself – I’m waiting on surgery on my back. I have a house with Choice Housing through benefits. I would get my benefits taken off me if she was staying with me, and it has broken my heart to be honest.
She can’t stay with me because I’m ill myself – I’m waiting on surgery on my back. I have a house with Choice Housing through benefits. I would get my benefits taken off me if she was staying with me, and it has broken my heart to be honest.
“She can only stay with people who have bought houses.”
A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “We would urge this applicant to contact us. An explanation of housing points was provided at the time of presentation to us and we would be happy to do this again, as well as having a further discussion of any other housing options.”