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Irish couple develops homes for employees to ease rent woes

20201218 Home sweet home
INQUIRER.net Stock Photo

One couple from Ireland decided to build homes to help out their employees who have been having problems with high rent.

Anna and Marcin Wojs are just two of the employees who will be benefiting from the non-profit homes that their employers, Patricia and Tony Walsh, built for them, according to an exclusive report by RTÉ News on Dec. 9.

The Walsh couple, who owns commercial printer Walsh Colour Print and educational publishing imprint Educate.ie, decided to build housing for their employees after Anna and Marcin approached them about their dilemma.

Anna and Marcin moved to Castleisland in County Kerry from Poland 16 years ago to work for the Walshes, according to the report. But despite saving their earnings, Anna and Marcin still struggled to pay the deposit on a house and get a mortgage. In rent alone, it was reported they were spending 800 to 1,000 a month (around $980 to $1,200 or P47,000 to P59,000).

“It was very hard to rent something here,” Anna was quoted as saying. “There were no houses.”

Anna and Marcin thought about moving back to their home country, but Patricia and Tony stepped in to help upon learning their problem. In 2017, Patricia and Tony got planning permission for some houses on a site owned by Walsh Colour Print. The area can fit 70 houses, as per the report, 20 of which are already reserved for their staff.

The three completed houses, so far, were purchased for 150,000 each (about $184,000 or P8.8 million), which was estimated to be more than 30,000 (around $37,000 or P1.7 million) below market value, as per the report. 

Tony shared in the report that another thing he was worried about was his employees’ retirement. Should they retire one day, they may not be able to afford rent anymore.

“Marcin and Anna and their family are over the moon. For the first time in their lives they own something. We are going to roll this out now to the rest of our staff and, at the end of their time, when they are finished working with Walsh Colour Print and Educate.ie, they can close the door and say ‘we own this,'” said Tony. 

Anna and Marcin, along with their two children, have already started moving into their new home. 

“It’s the best Christmas present ever,” Anna said in the report. “The feeling now is that we are happy, just happy.”  /ra

RELATED STORIES: 

Stranded in Metro Manila, families despair to return to their roots 

Housing is a human right 

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