We are experiencing a housing and homelessness emergency in this country. With rising rents, an exodus of landlords leaving the market, adult children being forced to live in close confines with ageing parents, the phasing out of the eviction ban, and the chronic lack of social and affordable housing supply, it is increasingly difficult for people to find a stable home to live in.
We are working tirelessly to deliver homes to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we were able to help our client Jacqueline and her son move into their forever home. Jacqueline spent years moving around different accommodations until eventually Dublin Simon were able to find her a safe, affordable, secure home.
Another client of ours, Patrick, battled addiction. He has achieved sobriety and maintained it for 9 years. He is dreaming of one day having his own home. We want to continue to open doors for people like Patrick in their hour of need. Together, we have already rebuilt thousands of interrupted lives, but we need your support to continue to be there for the increasing number of people relying on our help. You can help us to do more.
A gift of €90 could help our tenancy team to begin working with somebody who is struggling to cope and keep their own home.
A gift of €175 could provide free access to our Sure Steps counselling service to help people deal with the trauma and worry of becoming homeless.
A gift of €250 could help provide long-term housing for people like Jacqueline, giving them a fresh start and the chance to put homelessness behind them for good.
READ JACQUELINE’S STORY
Q. How did your troubles with housing begin?
I was renting a house in Beaumont when I first had my son. The landlord was selling that house, so I had to move. I ended up in a B&B in town. Every couple of nights you’d have to travel to a hotel in Tallaght. Cillian was only a few months old. I had my baby and my suitcases on the bus. That was for a few months. After that I was renting different properties for about a decade but I would get notices to quit. One landlord said he was going to start a family and needed the house back. It was hard to put down roots. There was nowhere that felt like home. We were always packing up and moving around.
I got alopecia. I put it down to that. I had a bald spot and then it got bigger and bigger. It must have been the stress.
Q. How did Dublin Simon Community help you?
I was told that Dublin Simon Community would be in touch when they had a suitable property for me. It wasn’t long before I got an email and I showed it to my friend and I said, ‘Is this real? This can’t be real.’ And she said, ‘It is real, Jacqueline. They wouldn’t show you an address if it wasn’t real.’
Michael phoned me up. I said, ‘Michael, am I being offered this accommodation?’ He said, ‘Yeah.’ I couldn’t continue the conversation. I started crying. I couldn’t believe it. I said, ‘I accept it.’ And he started laughing. He said, ‘You’re going to have to come and have a look at it.’ I said, ‘Okay, I will then.’ I couldn’t even talk. I think I hung up on him.
Q. What kind of impact has your new home had on you?
I’m still getting emotional even thinking about it. I’m so thankful. I’m so grateful. I’m just at peace. I wake up every morning and I still can’t believe it. My sister was up from Limerick, and she said, ‘Oh, Jacqueline. Look what you’re after getting. After all these years.’ And I said, ‘I know. I can’t believe it.’ I just wake up every morning and look around. I’m so thankful. It’s just everything you could wish for.
Q. What impact has your new home had on your son Cillian?
If anything bad happens to you when you are a child, you remember that. Cillian would always ask me, ‘Are we going to have to move again?’ And I used to say, ‘I don’t know, maybe. At least we have a roof over our heads now. We have to be grateful for that.’ He’d say ‘I know, but I wish we had our own home.’ When we moved into the house, I said to him. ‘Now, Cillian. We have our home. We won’t have to move again!’
We never had a bath before now. It was always showers wherever we were staying. Every night he’s been having a bath. I had to keep buying him bubble bath. I can’t get him out of the bath.
He’s over the moon with everything. There were two little girls here the other day who knocked in for him. He says, ‘I’ll go out cycling with youse one of the days, but not today. I’ve got plans.’ He has so many children to play with here. He doesn’t know himself. I’m so happy he has so many lovely friends.
Q. What was your experience like with Dublin Simon Community?
The independent housing team have gone above and beyond. They’re lovely people. I can’t say enough about them. They were brilliant. I am so thankful and grateful. The help is just unreal. Since I met them, life hasn’t been the same. I’ve just been on a different level of happiness.
Q. What was it like to step into your new home?
When I walked in, I noticed how clean every room already was. Every wall is painted. I don’t even have to paint. And you can see the kitchen yourself. A brand-new kitchen. There’s a big back garden. I’m going to have a herb garden out there. And Cillian wants a trampoline.
Before I got offered the house, I used to imagine myself being offered a house. Going into the hallway. In my mind, there was tiles on the floor. I used to be crying with happiness. And it actually turned out to happen. Funny enough, there’s tiles on the floor. I’d imagine myself walking in. I always did have hope.
At least I know now, I can do up the house and I’m not going to be worried about a notice to quit and not knowing where to be going, especially with Cillian. You don’t like things affecting kids. It can be hard on kids. Packing their suitcases. It’s just peace of mind. There’s no worry there anymore. There’s nothing hanging over my head. I can just get up and go to the shop and look forward to coming home. I’m just so happy, even when I drive in, I think to myself, ‘I live here.’
READ PATRICK’S STORY
Q How did you become homeless?
I came from a good family but I just went down the wrong road. I was a party goer and I was easily led. My father was trying everything to stop it, God love him. Eventually, my whole life was built around drugs. I was in detox several times. I just couldn’t get clean. I would have been homeless for six or seven years. I’ve hit rock bottom loads of times and come back.
Q. What was your lowest point during that time?
I was shivering one night. My friend’s girlfriend noticed I had chicken pox. I ended up in hospital and got so sick I nearly died. My mother came in the door and cried.
I got involved with Dublin Simon Community. They’ve done an awful lot for me. They’ve kept me off the streets and given me the support I needed. The people that work here, they’re saving lives. They can tell when you’re up or down. We’d have the craic. I feel like I can go to anyone here to talk with them. People say, “How are you? You look well”. That gives me a lift.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
I’m 55 and I still don’t have a place. We’re not getting places. Dublin Simon Community are doing everything they can. They can’t get places for us. I won’t own my own house unless I win the Lotto, and I can’t see that happening. I just want to try to get my own place and when that happens, I’ll be the happiest man in the world.
I have a son and I’m trying to get him back into my life. He’s 25. He’s not a child anymore. I was there and then I wasn’t there in his life. His mother died three years ago. I found that very hard. God love him, it was only when he saw me that he let it all out. He let rip and I took it on the chin. I let him down. But there’s still time to fix it.