5 of our favourite funny podcasts to get you through this weird weather weekend
5 of our favourite funny podcasts to get you through this weird weather weekend

Lauren Heskin

If we’re talking about blood clots, we should be talking about the Contraceptive Pill
If we’re talking about blood clots, we should be talking about the Contraceptive Pill

Jennifer McShane

This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the market for €1.3 million
This idyllic Georgian home in Kilkenny with artist’s studio and stone cottage is on the...

Megan Burns

5 signs your relationship has run its course, according to experts
5 signs your relationship has run its course, according to experts

IMAGE

Khloe Kardashian picture: It’s time to take a step back and see how warped this has all become
Khloe Kardashian picture: It’s time to take a step back and see how warped this...

Amanda Cassidy

Operation Forth Bridge: What’s expected following Prince Philip’s death
Operation Forth Bridge: What’s expected following Prince Philip’s death

Jennifer McShane

The menopause is the toughest challenge your skin will ever face: Here are products that will help
The menopause is the toughest challenge your skin will ever face: Here are products that...

Helen Seymour

Image / Self / Real-life Stories

Hidden homelessness: “I didn’t live on the streets but I had no safe haven for my daughters”


by Amanda Cassidy
12th Dec 2020
blank

The Simon Community has expressed concerns around the levels of hidden homelessness and the challenge that awaits us in 2021. Amanda Cassidy speaks to one Limerick woman who describes what it is like to live without a home.


“I used to judge people I’d see on the side of the street – those who looked homeless,” admits Ciara, who has asked us to change her name for anonymity. “There is such a stigma surrounding not being able to organise your own shelter.” The mum of two girls speaks to me frankly about her own situation – about the day she realised she was herself without a home.

“The day that I realised I couldn’t afford the extra rent that my landlord starting charging, I was devastated. I cried and cried. Friends offered me places to stay, but I knew long-term that with two daughters I had to face up to the fact that I was homeless.”

Ciara is among those known as the hidden homeless – a section of our society who may not sleep on the streets, but who have no home to call their own –  no security, no peace.

Challenging

“After living in a hotel for two months, we lived in a community home with 10 other families. We had one bedroom between the three of us. It was a long wait.”

Although challenging, Ciara says she received incredible support – support she will be forever grateful for from the Mid-West Simon Community.

“I was extremely down and they helped me an awful lot. I can’t thank them enough. I was embarrassed to tell anyone that I was homeless, but do I think others should reach out and get the help that is on offer. Don’t struggle alone. I walked in there and asked for help and they changed my life. They helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

2020 has been a year where many people needed a significant amount of extra help across the board. Karen Golden, Chairperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland says that the work they do has a very wide impact. 

“Throughout the year, staff and volunteers across the Communities responded to the increasing number of people looking for help. They supported people facing homelessness, whatever their situation. The Communities provided prevention services; soup runs and street outreach; addiction, counselling and GP services, emergency accommodation; housing first services; supported accommodation; and transitional and longer-term housing options across towns, cities and rural areas to men, women, young adults and families.”

Fragile

Over 18 thousand people depend on the services of the Simon Communities in Ireland according to last year’s annual report. But the transformative nature of the 2020 pandemic in all of our lives and all sectors of society demonstrated how fragile an already fragile situation was.

Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland says they expect things to get worse before they get better.

“In 2020 we have seen an enormous collaborative effort to keep those experiencing homelessness safe. That effort in conjunction with the moratorium on evictions saw a reduction in the number of people in emergency homeless accommodation.

However, the Simon Communities in Ireland prevention services are as busy as ever. This speaks to our concerns around the levels of hidden homelessness and the challenge that awaits us in 2021.”

For Ciara, the word home means security, it means peace and it means happiness.

“I’ve worked all my life, so for me to admit I couldn’t provide a home for me and my daughters, was horrendous. This is a problem people don’t know about – we need more affordable housing.

We are not looking for mansions, all people like me want is a front door to walk through and close behind you on the world. I’ll never forget the day I was able to do that. A home should be a safe haven, and we all deserve that.”

Image via unsplash.com

Read more: Homelessness: ‘A deepening crisis”

Also Read

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
Sleep deprivation and menopause go hand in hand: here are tips to help you sleep

Helen Seymour is in peri-menopause, or at least she thinks...

By Helen Seymour

blank
PARENTHOOD
‘Welcome to another riveting day of planning meals and preparing 536 different snacks’

,

By Amanda Cassidy

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
‘I fell into a big hole’: Fearne Cotton on struggling with depression

 TV and radio personality Fearne Cotton is generally a woman...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
My husband left me with four young children, cleared out our savings account and disappeared

It's been 11 years since Alice Sommers' husband departed Ireland for unknown foreign lands leaving her with money struggles, damaged children, NAMA negotiations and the eventual loss of their family home.

By IMAGE

sleep divorce
ADVICE
Is a sleep divorce the key to a happy relationship? A relationship counsellor’s take on the ‘living apart together’ trend

When building a pillow wall isn’t good enough, sleeping apart...

By Amanda Cassidy

osteoarthritis
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Pain, stiffness and swelling: Osteoarthritis affects women twice as much as men

Osteoarthritis is on the rise in Ireland, and as it...

By Grace McGettigan

True friendship – where you can interrupt each other raucously without worrying about whether or not the room is ventilated; where you can eat off each other’s plates – exists in the past and in the future
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, RELATIONSHIPS
Lynn Enright: ‘I can’t shake the sense that the loneliness I feel is somehow my fault’

Most of our friendships are a little thinner now, or just a little less joyous, writes Lynn Enright

By Lynn Enright

Prendergast family
PARENTHOOD
How are the kids feeling? We hear from three different families across Ireland

Our feeds are currently flooded with how hard parents are...

By Lizzie Gore-Grimes