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'I walk the streets every day while heavily pregnant because I have nowhere to go'

Christina was married with a daughter. She had a law degree and a good job, but was made redundant.

I HAD MY own home, I was a homeowner and I was quite happy. I had a job and a decent income. I was able to pay my mortgage when I was working, but unfortunately I lost my job in 2012. Prior to that I had a fairly comfortable life … but unfortunately when I lost my job things really, really took a turn for the worse.

Christina was married with a daughter. She had a law degree and a good job. Her life changed dramatically after she was made redundant. Her 11-year marriage broke up and the bank repossessed her house. Her eight-year-old daughter is now being cared for by someone else.

In an interview with Valerie Cox on Today with Seán O’Rourke, Christina said she has been looking for private rented accommodation for two years but can’t find anywhere she can afford because many landlords will not accept rent supplement.

She has a bed in Regina Coeli Hostel, but she cannot be there from 12-7.30pm every day. As a result she walks the streets of Dublin city for hours every day.

shutterstock_150533702 File photo Source: Shutterstock/Coffeemill

 

She is six-and-a-half months pregnant and fears her baby will also be taken into care if she can’t find accommodation. Children cannot stay in the hostel when she currently sleeps.

“Basically I roam the streets. I go out window shopping, I go to libraries … I’ve absolutely nowhere to go … I can’t be just annoying people or knocking on people’s doors.

Lately it’s really taken its toll on me. I suffer very, very badly with varicose veins, I was supposed to have them operated on, I’m supposed to be resting my legs. My bladder is really weak. I get days where I’m very, very week and I need to sit down for a few hours.

“I’m not going to be a layabout and sit around doing nothing all day … I’ve gotten to a stage where I’m actually frozen. I’m speechless because I know nobody is going to help because I’ve been to every organisation … there are no resources available.

“So, what am I supposed to do? I have to walk the streets every day while heavily pregnant because they can’t give me somewhere in a supported accommodation scheme,” Christina said, through tears.

She is receiving some support from Anew – an organisation that helps homeless pregnant women.

Not an isolated case 

Deirdre Delaney, Christina’s social worker, said pregnant women becoming homeless is getting “more and more” common.

“We see many qualified women coming through here,” adding that many women are not in a position to receive support from their families.

Women who are pregnant and homeless are not entitled to hotel accommodation, you only become entitled to hotel accommodation as a family.

Delaney said Christina is “believe it or not … lucky”.

“For many pregnant women they’re in a one-night only hostel , which means that they have a different room every night if they’re lucky and they have to leave early every morning and walk the streets.”

Christina said the father of her baby is “not able” to give her any support.

Her ultimate goal is to find accommodation so she can keep her baby and be reunited with her daughter.

*Not her real name.

Read: The number of children in homeless accommodation in Dublin has DOUBLED in a year

 

Read: Homeless families told that they have to leave accommodation by the end of the month

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