TheJournal.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 13 December, 2017
Advertisement

'I used to have to wash myself in a bookies every morning because there would be needles all over the hostel'

Merchant’s Quay Ireland is launching its annual review for 2016 today.

File photo of a homeless person in Dublin taken as part of a photojournalism project in December.
File photo of a homeless person in Dublin taken as part of a photojournalism project in December.
Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A LEADING HOMELESSNESS and drug support charity has called for more funding and investment from government to help tackle the growing homelessness and housing crisis.

Merchant’s Quay Ireland is launching its annual review for 2016 today. The review shows an increase in the number of people availing of its services across the board.

MQI provides homeless outreach and drug rehabilitation services at every level of addiction. Its day centre on Merchant’s Quay in Dublin’s south inner city provides food, medical and counselling support for at risk and homeless people.

Its Night Café also provides up to 70 mats for people to sleep on each night who have not been able to source a place to stay.

Commenting on the review, CEO Tony Geoghegan told TheJournal.ie that more funding was needed to go to essential services in homelessness. He said more beds were needed to combat the growing numbers of homeless people in Dublin.

“We definitely need more beds but we need quality beds that’s the issue. You hear people talking about that they won’t to go into a hostel for all sorts of reasons,” he said.

If the government is serious about addressing the homeless crisis, then it must increase investment in the vital services needed to move people out of rough sleeping and emergency accommodation and into recovery programmes and on to stable accommodation.

90386228_90386228 Tony Geoghegan has called for more funding for essential services. Source: RollingNews.ie

Keith’s story 

One MQI service user – Keith* – told TheJournal.ie about his experience of homelessness and his battles with drug addiction.

Keith said he had been battling with drug and alcohol addiction since he was 13. This escalated over the years and by age 23 he had lost contact with his family and was homeless in Dublin city centre.

“Things just got worse and I went from one addiction and added more onto it,” said Keith.

“When I got into town it just got worse. It was the crack, the gear, everything. I was selling I was robbing, everything just to keep the addiction going,” he said.

90438201_90438201 File photo of a homeless person in Dublin taken as part of a photojournalism project in December. Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Keith said he slept rough about the city and stayed in hostels. He said that as time went on and he spent longer in homelessness his physical and mental health deteriorated.

“After a while you just deteriorate. Your mental health deteriorates,” said Keith.

I tried to commit suicide in the Phoenix Park, I just couldn’t take anymore. It’s one of them when you go asleep – wherever you end up going to sleep – you just… for me I didn’t want to wake up.

Keith said that living in homeless hostels without a home made it extremely hard to beat any addiction and get his life back together.

“You could be in a room with four or five people and four of them could be banging up, smoking crack, taking tablets,” he said.

“I used to have to wash myself in a bookies every morning because there would be needles and all in the hostel that I was staying in. Blood all over it so I had to go down and keep a euro for the morning.

I would put down a euro bet on something, go into the toilets, have a wash and do the same thing the next morning.

About a year ago, Keith went into a rehab programme and beat his addiction. He has been receiving ongoing support from MQI, has been clean since and was able to secure a place to live for himself.

Without a roof over his head he said it would be impossible to stay off alcohol and drugs.

90438195_90438195 File photo of a homeless person in Dublin taken as part of a photojournalism project in December. Source: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Figures

Latest figures for July show that there were 5,187 adults staying in state-funded emergency accommodation last month – an increase on previous months.

The figures come as it has been confirmed that four homeless people have lost their lives in the past 10 days.

Last year, MQI had over 6,500 people use its homelessness services. Close to 10,000 people across the country with different needs came to the charity last year for help.

The charity saw a huge increase in the number of healthcare interventions it provided last year, which it says highlights the growing physical and psychological impact of being homeless on people.

It provided 7,649 healthcare interventions throughout the year, up 73% on the year before.

The charity saw nearly a 20% increase in the number of meals it provided last year – giving our 117,398 in total.

Tony Geoghegan said that as the number of homeless people increased, more investment was needed to tackle the underlying causes.

“We are in an unprecedented level of homelessness. Every month the record gets broken in terms of the number of people in emergency accommodation,” he said.

“We are concerned that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

It is a conundrum because on the one hand you do hear comments that money isn’t an issue and everybody says it’s terrible that people should be sleeping or dying on the streets, but on the other hand it just keeps going on.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 804848 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247247 or email mary@pieta.ie – (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 666666 (for under 18s)

*Only Keith’s first name was used in order to protect his identity

You can find out more about MQI and the services they provide here

Read: “When I was 15 I found €3,500 worth of heroin on the ground… and that was it for me”

Read: “There are people dying injecting themselves. I had to get the injection that brings you back to life”

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (20)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

Leave a commentcancel

Trending Tags