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homeless crisis

The homeless crisis in Ireland seems to be worsening as more and more families are struggling to afford rent or in worse cases, can’t even keep a roof over their heads.

We can donate to homeless charities and throw a few euros into the cup of a homeless person sitting on O’Connell bridge, but we will never truly understand how difficult it is unless it happens to us.

A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington opened my eyes about the sheer heartache homeless people face on a day-to-day basis.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This book made me realise just how lucky I am to go home to my warm house in Drimnagh. I’m sure we’re all guilty of complaining about our home. The wallpaper is too old-fashioned. The carpet looks grubby. My room is too small.

But we really have no right to do so, especially when people are sleeping on park benches and in run-down ‘boutique’ hotels.

The story of Ruth and DJ will move you and give you a well-needed reality check.

The single mother and her son never truly fit in, but they never cared about that, once they were always together.

When their home comes under threat, their quiet lives will change forever.

This tale will show you the harrowing realities of homelessness in Ireland. Too many people in our country are fighting similar battles to Ruth and DJ and Tom.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Carmel Harrington (@happymrsh) on

DJ struggles to do his homework in his hotel bedroom, just like many other Irish pupils.

Ruth lives in fear of losing her job because she doesn’t have a stable home, just like many other Irish mothers.

Tom has become one of Dublin’s invisible, just like the many people we fail to notice as we rush down the city streets.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Everyone has felt like an outsider at some point in their lives, this is the book to make you feel like you belong.

Carmel Harrington’s words will stick with you long after you finish the final page of this book. The lesson A Thousand Roads Home teaches you is one that’ll stay in your heart for a very long time.

A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington is published by Harper Collins. It will be released on October 18, 2018.

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They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but this piece of artwork has left us speechless.

Artists took to a boarded-up house in Ranelagh and created a heart-stopping reflection of the sad times we live in.

The housing crisis in Ireland has gone from bad to worse, whilst there are a number of properties lying unoccupied. 

According to Focus Ireland, more than one in three people in emergency accommodation is a child.

Their most recent figures report 3,867 children are living in emergency homeless accommodation with their families.

Reflecting their statistics, a snap of the street artwork was uploaded to SUBSET's Instagram page.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It shows three men in balaclavas, one of which is trying to enter the property by force.

In each window of the house, the most vulnerable and innocent victims of the housing crisis are seen – children.

The artwork is in relation to Take Back The City – Dublin campaign, which is a movement currently taking over the city. 

 

Feature image credit: SUBSET Instagram stories

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This May bank holiday you can help young Irish homeless people by adding a Euro to your shopping bill.

Today marks the start of the One for Ireland initiative, which will see 800 retailers participating all over Ireland to offer their customers the option to add €1 to their bill when they pay at the till.

Every Euro received over the long weekend will go directly to aiding 3,700 young people without a home. 

Ryan Tubridy officially launched this year’s charitable campaign, which is backed by the Irish Youth Foundation.

In addition to Tubridy, Kate O'Loughlin from Limerick joined him at the launch.

The 28-year-old was living in hotel accommodation with her four children until Novas, a voluntary agency that works with disadvantaged families, secured a house for her family.

The allocation came just in time for her fifth child, ten-week-old baby Michael.

He missed being born into homelessness by just one day when she was told she had secured a house while in labour.

Speaking about her experience Kate explained just how difficult being homelessness was:

“I got very depressed and was crying all the time because of the effect on the kids. Novas became my family and helped me through the process of finding my home when I had a premature baby. It felt great to be able to cook, clean, shower and wash our own clothes.”

Niall McLoughlin, CEO, Irish Youth Foundation spoke about this year’s One for Ireland campaign saying:

“The money raised from this campaign will specifically tackle the problems associated with youth homelessness, which is now at crisis level with over 3,755 young people in emergency accommodation. I would like to sincerely thank all the retailers who are participating from Friday to Monday and encourage everyone to give One for Ireland this May Bank Holiday weekend!”

Novas is just one of seven charities that will benefit from all funds raised this weekend.  Focus Ireland, The Simon Community, Irish Refugee Council, Sonas Domestic Violence Charity, Barnardos, and Merchant’s Quay Ireland are all included in the initiative.

All funds donated in each area will be used to improve the lives of homeless children and young people living in seven regions throughout Ireland.

At the end of December 2017, there were 818 young people (under 25 years) living in emergency homeless accommodation. By the end of February 2018, this figure had increased to 938 young people living in emergency accommodation in Ireland.

This represents a 14 percent increase in just two months.

If you can’t make it to one of the retailers you can text ONE to 50300 to donate €2.

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The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and Dublin City Council (DCC) confirmed today that the official spring count on rough sleeping identified 110 persons sleeping rough across the Dublin region on the night of 27th March 2018 and into the morning of 28th March 2018.

The DRHE has been responsible for the delivery of rough sleeping counts in Dublin since 2007.

A total of 110 persons are confirmed as rough sleeping in Dublin in Spring 2018.

This is a 40% decrease in the number of individuals sleeping rough in Dublin from 184 in Winter 2017 to 110 in Spring 2018.

Of the 110 persons discovered sleeping rough: 

  • 51 persons had a PASS record, 7 persons did not have a PASS record and of the remaining 52, there was insufficient details provided to ascertain whether they had a PASS record;

  • 58% of people were Irish national, 42% were non-Irish nationals and 31 individuals did not have their nationality identified.

  • 90 people were discovered in Dublin City (North and South) and the remaining 20 were located outside Dublin City, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

  • 84% were male, and 16% were female. 

Mr. Brendan Kenny, Deputy Chief Executive, Dublin City Council welcomed the decrease in the numbers of people sleeping rough and said “We have been working with our charity partners to increase emergency accommodation, and have in the last few months increased capacity by 260 permanent beds."

"This has had a significant positive outcome in terms of decreasing the numbers of people sleeping rough. However, the large number of people sleeping rough is still a serious area of concern and we will continue to work through the Housing First Service to engage with these people and work with them to access appropriate services.”

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In an effort to prevent long stays in emergency accommodation, Dublin City Council has proposed a new policy in which homeless families will no longer be given priority on the social housing waiting list.

This move comes after the head of the Housing Agency, Conor Skehan, claimed that some homeless families were 'gaming the system' in order to be at the top of the social housing waiting list.

Dublin City Council now plans on encouraging families to avail of the housing assistance payment (HAP) to pay for accommodation in the private rental sector.

The council's head of housing, Brendan Kenny, told the Irish Times, "We are concerned that families will endure a prolonged period in emergency accommodation and not consider alternatives, in order to secure what they believe to be the most sustainable option for their family, ie social housing."

This is 'completely understandable', he said. However, he noted that the council lacks enough houses to ensure all of these families have a roof over their heads.

Brendan said that families living in emergency housing for over half a year were less likely to accept HAP to pay for private rental accommodation.

"While it might seem counterintuitive to cease prioritising families for social housing, it is with a view to encouraging shorter stays and supporting families to rent independently with enhanced financial and social support," he added.

Fr Peter McVarry, a homeless campaigner, spoke on Newstalk Breakfast about the proposal, saying, "Many homeless families have come from the private rented sector – they've been evicted for a variety of different reasons.

"And now Dublin City Council is telling them 'you've got to go back into the private rented sector if you want to get permanent accommodation'. They don't want to go back into the private rented sector because there's no security of tenure – they don't have any permanence there.

"So that's why they want a council house – and because council housing in such short supply, low-income families are now competing with each other to get the few social houses that become available."

Dublin City Council's housing committee was asked to approve this policy today, according to the Irish Times.

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The Simon Community, a housing and homeless charity, saw a 33 percent rise in the number of people using its services. 

The charity helps those who are homeless in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, and Meath. 

According to their Annual Report for 2016, this increase includes more than 11,000 people total, who were either homeless or at risk of losing the roof over their heads.

Simon helped 1,400 families and nearly 3,000 children last year as well.

The number of families facing homelessness has soared by over 50 percent and the number of homeless children by 49 percent. 

Many of these families must live in hotel rooms, with limited space for children to play and no proper kitchen to cook in. 

"These trends are flesh and blood, people’s lives and childhoods potentially lost," Padraig McKeon, Chairperson of Simon Community, said in a statement. 

He also noted that the charity plans on building 400 more accommodation units in the four counties they serve, which will be both supported housing and independent living units.

Padraig thanked all of the charity's clients and residents whose 'continued determination and perseverance to move forward with their lives' are utterly inspiring.

"Every day we are inspired by what you have overcome," the Chairperson wrote, "Your experience and insights ensure our services continue to adapt and improve."

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Following the launch of a new campaign aimed at tackling child homelessness, a video of a nine-year-old boy struggling to make his way around his homeless accommodation has gone viral.

David has cerebral palsy and relies on his walker and wheelchair to keep him mobile. However, as seen in the short clip, his current living situation does not accommodate his needs.

"My name is David. I am nine years old, I have cerebral palsy. My room in the B&B is very small so I can’t use my walker or wheelchair,” the caption on the video reads.

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) uploaded the video as part of its #MyNameIs campaign and hope that the personal nature of the clip will put a face on child homelessness in Ireland.

David is just one of 2,895 children who are currently homeless in this country.

Speaking about the campaign, David Nugent, head of advocacy at ICHH, said “On Monday morning, the country will wake up to thousands of posters of homeless children’s faces on posters around Dublin, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick, and Galway.”

“These are real children,” he added.

In an effort to highlight the growing issues, a further 150 videos will be posted throughout the week and playwright and actor, Emmet Kirwan, will perform a spoken-word piece in Tramline on Hawkins Street, Dublin, on Monday August 28 at 8.00pm.

Posters have also been placed around Dublin city and campaigners plan to recover 2,000 of those posters to turn them into a life-size house outside of Leinster House on September 20.

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The Apollo House initiative brought major attention to the homelessness crisis in Dublin, and the Home Sweet Home organisation is continuing to shed light on the issue.

The latest video shared on the Home Sweet Home Facebook page showcases the realities of the services that are in place for homeless people in the capital. 

Homeless people in Dublin City are required to ring a free phone number to access a hostel for the night, and the video shows the process.

They are allocated a bed for the night, then have to leave the next morning.

Some homeless individuals interviewed in the short documentary have been waiting for a bed for 11 months.

Former Apollo House volunteers and filmographers Aura McMenamin, Conor Maguire and Sean Fitzgerald put the documentary together, hoping to spread awareness about the "dysfunctional" services.

"The Home Sweet Home media are trying to keep the momentum of Apollo House going," said documentary interviewer Aura McMenamin. 

"Simon Coveney and the HSH negotiators laid out seven points during the negotiations to leave Apollo House," continued Aura. "One of them was to ensure minimum standards in homeless hostels. Our video aims to show the poor conditions of Dublin's hostels."

"People recovering from addiction are put into wet hostels with active drugs users. People report violence and theft. On top of this, beds are allocated on a nightly basis and people must vacate the hostel in the morning without a place to stay during the day. Although HSH can't speak for all hostels, this is a recurring problem and prevents homeless people from having a basic quality of life."

"However, what was most interesting to me when deciding on the concept of the video was the difficulty in getting a bed through the Dublin City Council free phone. I had heard stories of apathy or even derision from phone line operators and the despair of being put in a calling queue for hours on end."

"People we interviewed complained about the way they are spoken to by one operator in particular. One woman was told that she couldn't have another sleeping bag (given to people in lieu of a bed) because she had gotten the last one wet after sleeping in the rain," she continued.

"There is a shortage of beds and a shortage of suitable hostels for people's various needs."

"We hope it makes an impact on people's perception of the homeless. Any notion that homeless people get an easy ride or are happily living off the welfare system is ridiculous."

The video has now been viewed thousands of times and shared across various social media platforms. 

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Homelessness is a serious problem in Dublin, and it's one that many people choose to ignore.

However, the tides are turning, as people have been forced to pay attention to the plight of homeless people sleeping rough on Dublin's frosty streets as guerilla activist group Home Sweet Home battles to maintain control of Apollo House, an empty building which has become a safe haven for the homeless in recent weeks. 

One Facebook page, Homeless Awareness, has been raising awareness about Dublin's crisis since 2014, but the creator of the page has just shared his experiences with having a homeless brother, and the tragic circumstances which led to his homeless status. 

The post, which has been liked and shared hundreds of times, details the life of Darren, the page's founder, and his brother. 

"This is my brother Shane. Shane has been homeless over 10 years battling a drug addiction, we both grew up in a middle class home fostered by a nice family."

"Me and my brother got fostered by a lovely family in Rathmines. I was aged three and my brother was four."

"My brother left at the age of 17 to go live with the Peter McVerry trust over in Ballymun by time he was 18 he was on heroin." 

"I didn't know he was on the stuff till a few years later when people would tell me 'I seen your brother in town he didn't look the best he was on drugs!'"

Darren then shares his experiences with becoming homeless himself, after being kicked out of his foster home at age 18.

"When I was 18 got kicked out of my foster home and I was homeless for a few months sleeping on a friends sofa or sometimes in peoples sheds or the streets."

"I was so scared the first time I slept out on the streets of Dublin. It was the longest night ever walking around trying to find somewhere to sleep. It was hard."

Thankfully, he has managed to turn his life around.

He is now in a stable relationship and has two children, all with a roof firmly over their heads.

However, there is a sense of guilt over the fact that he cannot take in his brother.

"Before anyone says why don't you help him, take him in, I have done."

"But he has robbed me and I can't take that risk again of losing my home, but I've always done my best for my brother and any other homeless person out there."

Shane is still homeless and living on the streets but the author admits that he hasn't seen him for many months. 

The post is gaining a plethora of sympathy in the comments, as people share their own personal stories of living with a homeless relative. 

This isn't the first time a homeless person's personal story has gained national attention.

Three weeks ago, Cinematography student Fionn Kane highlighted the crisis by shooting an emotive video called I'm Still Human, focusing on the hardship faced by James, a homeless man who has been living on the streets for six years.

James reveals the horrific realities of life as a homeless man in Dublin, and tells the camera how he has been assaulted, humiliated and even urinated on while sleeping rough. 

A Facebook post involving James also went viral last month after he was asked to leave McDonalds on O'Connell street despite being a paying customer. 

Almost 7,000 people are now homeless in Ireland, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.

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Dublin City Council has given the green light to plans to demolish Apollo House.

The Apollo House office building, which previously stood empty, is currently being occupied by the Home Sweet Home coalition of housing activists and homeless people.

The building is currently operating to capacity, and provides food and shelter to those in need 

The Tara Street building is part of a €50,000,000 plan, set in motion back in June, for redevelopment of the area, which will include new offices and a public plaza.

Hawkins House next door may also be redeveloped. 

"It's right and appropriate the artist community are standing up and saying we need to change our ways so everyone can live in this city…It's impossible to live at the moment. You can’t rent here,"  said Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

He believes that while the occupation of the site would not solve the homeless crisis, it was a step in the right direction.

"It's is a symbolic step, but an important step to say we need to be doing more."

The Home Sweet Home volunteers are currently sheltering up to 35 occupants a night at Apollo House, but say that their capacity could be increased to 60. 

People have taken to Twitter to express their outrage over the demolition plans.

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Mattress Mick may have just won the day with his amazing gesture to the less fortunate.

The bedding mogul has joined the movement to help the homeless in Dublin this Christmas, by donating a delivery of beds to Apollo House.

A NAMAowned building, Apollo House was taken over by two groups – Home Sweet Home Eire and the Irish Housing network – on December 16.

Backed by a group of Irish celebrities, the groups teamed together as a ‘citizen’s intervention’ to tackle the growing homeless crisis in the city.

Home Sweet Home has since received huge public support, with professionals including doctors and plumbers offering to lend their skills. They have also been inundated with food and clothing donations.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, Mattress Mick came to their rescue when he arrived to the centre with a truckload of mattresses.

Eirigi, a socialist party, posted the video taken by Damien Farrell to their Facebook page.

#MattressMick supplied mattresses arriving at #HomeStreetHome in the early hours of Friday morning. Éirígí activists, along with dozens of others from many groups and from none, helped to get the citizen-operated homeless accommodation up and running. The first residents were in their rooms within a couple of hours of the NAMA building being taken over. This is people power in action.”

The North Dublin native said he is giving the “worthy” movement his “full support”.

Yesterday, another appeal for mattresses was circulated on Facebook, with the occupiers of Apollo House being forced to turn people away in the absence of adequate bedding.

Despite being issued an order-to-vacate by NAMA's lawyers, the homeless group is still pushing ahead with its mission to give every homeless person a bed this Christmas.

Apollo House is due for demolition in the New Year.

The charity has already raised over €70,000 through their GoFundMe page. If you would like to donate to Home Sweet Home, you can do so here.

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Homelessness is a serious problem in Dublin, and it's one that many people choose to ignore.

Cinematography student Fionn Kane highlighted the issue by shooting an emotive video called I'm Still Human, focusing on the hardship faced by James, a homeless man who has been living on the streets for six years.

Through the documentary, James reveals the horrific realities of life as a homeless man in Dublin, and tells the camera how he has been assaulted, humiliated and even urinated on while sleeping rough. 

James previously drew attention to the homeless crisis back in November, when he was the subject of a Facebook post by Alicia Gayson (we recommend giving the full post a read).

Alicia's post was spurred by an incident that happened in which she and James were shamed into leaving McDonalds on O'Connell Street due to James' homeless status, and were asked to move along despite the fact that they had paid for the meals they were consuming.

The post has since received 32,000 responses and has been shared almost 17,000 times. 

Alicia is a vocal advocate for the rights of homeless people, and also features in the short film to speak about the incident. She also discusses the attitudes towards homeless people, and refers to one man whom she was involved in a debate with on the FM104 show.

"He was referring in the most derogatory terms to homeless people. He was calling them junkie scumbags, saying that they were a plague on earth," she said.

"Not everybody that is homeless is an addict. Even if we looked at just the addicts, no mother gives birth to a child with the hopes and aspirations that her child was going to become what society deem as a junkie scumbag that's going to sit out on a bridge and beg."

"No human being, when growing up in school and asked what they want to be when they grow up, is going to say they want to be a homeless beggar on O'Connell Street."

Fionn Kane, the creative behind I'm Still Human, told SHEmazing! about his intentions for the documentary:

"I guess the thing that spurred me the most was the fact that there are human beings sleeping in such harsh conditions, whom society seem to have forgotten about."

"These people might be drug addicts, they might have mental health problems, but at the end of the day they feel empathy, compassion and emotions just like me and you," said the aspiring director, who was working on another documentary about homelessness volunteers when he discovered James and Alicia's story.

"I searched for Alicia on Facebook and finally found her. Between filming them both, I was out in town shooting at night with volunteer groups and meeting some lovely, genuine people who have fallen on hard times."

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Alicia Gayson, in the hopes of raising enough money to improve James' quality of life and get him off the streets and into some permanent housing.

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