“I have such good family, no one wanted us to be homeless. I had a brilliant support system while I was in it, but some people in homeless services don’t have that” #Anonymous
August 29, 2023
A few years ago, I was living in a house with my mam. We were working full-time and renting. The landlord decided he was selling the house and we couldn’t find anywhere else to rent. I stayed in my boyfriend’s first, but it wasn’t great. Then we went to my aunt’s house. My mother had a room and I was sleeping on the couch. My cousin has mental health problems and wasn’t taking his medicine, so it wasn’t easy living there. I discussed it with one of my teachers in college who encouraged me to go down and present as homeless. My aunty didn’t want us to do that, she wanted to keep us there, but it was difficult with the lack of space and my cousin. I was put in emergency accommodation. At the time I was in college six days a week. I struggled to afford petrol to get to and from classes. There were no cooking facilities in the homeless accommodation, which was a BnB, so it was very difficult to make sure I’d get something proper to eat, especially with college commitments.
My mother presented as homeless a while after me, she was in different accommodation. When we were in emergency accommodation, my aunt used to try and bring us out hot meals often because we had no cooking facilities. She was doing that while taking care of her son. I told everyone I was living in another town at the time, because I didn’t want to share my situation.
Life in my new apartment
I’m so excited and thankful to be here in my new apartment. Just before I left the BnB, things had become a little uncomfortable with one of the people living there. I’m so thankful to be here in my own space. I didn’t expect to get this. There were women and children living in the emergency accommodation I was in, and I thought, ‘How are they managing? I can hardly do this myself’. It was hard, it was so loud and there was a mix of people – but there were lovely people too.
Looking to the future
I’ve done six different make-up courses. They’re intensive. I qualified as a make-up artist during the pandemic. I just finished up a prosthetics course. At the moment, I’m working on a television show that is going to be filming for four to six months to help me get into the makeup industry and put me in touch with the right contacts. It’s so nerve-wrecking but I know it’ll open doors for me. That’s why I’ve also volunteered to teach make-up, I’d like to teach and open my own salon in future. I had no confidence before I started, I wasn’t able to talk to people. The volunteering has helped so much, I love doing it. I have to do 100 hours volunteering across a number of places. I had an interview for a teaching job last week, so am hopeful. I’ve been teaching make-up in a few places. I was working fulltime before Covid but when it hit, I was out of work, so I decided to do my first make-up course. I paid for it from my savings from the Credit Union. I hope I get accepted for the job. I’m manifesting it!
My commerce course finished a few weeks ago, I was working on four essays at once! I’m on a payment to go to college but if I earn a certain amount, I’m no longer eligible for the grant, and I can’t afford to pay for college by myself. There’s a lot of good opportunities but the money side of things is tough. You’re trying to better yourself but the costs often rack up.
I’d love to work with youths, I’m thinking of doing social sciences. I would like to be a key worker. When I was first made homeless, I had one. I know I’d be such a good help in that role, because I’d know what they’re going through. I have such good family, no one wanted us to be homeless. I had such a good support system while I was in it, but some people in homeless services didn’t have that, some people are just left there. There was a man with autism who was in there, he shouldn’t have been. He needed more help and assistance than he received.
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