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Dublin: 11°C Friday 12 August 2022

'I actually saw him the other day on O'Connell Street in his football gear'

After a difficult upbringing, this man managed to turn his life around.

_MG_9472 Source: LIAM MURPHY PHOTOGRAPHY

He was a young guy – I still remember when he came into Focus Ireland’s coffee shop for the first time. I was like: ‘Jaysus, why has he no shoes on?’ His hair was all matted up and his clothes were dirty and in bits. He wouldn’t speak or make eye contact with us for days.

Every time he came in we would give him a pair of shoes and he would come back without them. Through his visits we got to know him a bit more, later he told us some horrible stories about his upbringing, and the way he lost his parents.

However, he had the will to change his life. It took two years to get this guy to a point when one day he came in all washed up with a fresh haircut and clean clothes. When he entered we hardly recognised him.

He got very shy because we all started screaming as we were so happy to see him. He looked amazing! We saw him less and less often, we heard that with the help of Focus Ireland he went back to study and later got a job.

I actually saw him the other day on O’Connell Street. He was in his football gear. I remember he was always talking about how much he loved to play.

He is completely clean now, loves the chats and also does some charity work with us every now and then. I often wonder what would happen to these people if we didn’t stand so strong behind them.

This story was highlighted by @focusireland

FocusData2 Source: Department of Housing

Recent figures show that 826 young people aged between 18 and 24 are homeless in Ireland. This is an increase of 13% from October 2016 to October 2017. These figures count young people who are accessing homeless accommodation funded by local authorities. Since this the department began recording these numbers in June 2014 youth homelessness has increased 93%. Let’s change the face of homelessness together with Focus Ireland person by person, child by child, family by family. Donate here.

Sponsored by:

Focus Ireland

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