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'It's my home. I can say it however many times I like': Teenager homeless for over two years housed before Christmas

Amanda had previously spoken about the difficulties of living in homeless emergency accommdoation.

Image: Shutterstock/Big Ray

A MOTHER AND her teenage daughter who were homeless for over two years have spoken out about what it means to them to have secured a social house just before Christmas. 

18-year-old ‘Amanda’ (not her real name) previously spoke to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland in October about the difficulties she faced living in a hotel used as homeless emergency accommodation. 

Amanda had been living in the hotel for two years after she and her family became homeless following the break up of her parents’ marriage. 

“I feel like I’ve been [robbed] of most of my life,” she said at the time.

These are the years that I’m supposed to be focusing on getting a decent education, making friends, and going out and living my life.

She described the hotel where she has been living for two years as “rotten” and “mouldy”.

It’s degrading for everyone having to wake up and look at the dirt around you, the mould in between walls and behind curtains and everything else. It’s horrible.

 Housed

As of this week, Amanda and her family have been housed in a terraced social home. 

The teenager and her mother “Teresa” spoke again to Morning Ireland about what it meant to them to finally have a home of their own again. 

Amanda said she couldn’t wait to move in properly, and that the fact that they were out of the hotel and in their own home hadn’t sunk in. 

“Not fully. Definitely not fully I don’t think,” she said.

Maybe our first proper night staying in here when all the beds and the floors are down – that’s probably when I’ll have to take a moment because it will just all hit me then.

Amanda said it was “very difficult to process” and that while she was happy, it was difficult to think of the families still homeless and living in hotels over the Christmas. 

“It’s very difficult to process it and it feels so bad that you have to leave really good people back in the hotel,” she said. 

“But it’s a blessing to be able to leave it behind. It really is.

It’s my home, I can say it however many time I like. It’s my home. I’m so happy. It’s hitting me now that I get to think about it but… this is my home. I’m happy. I’m sorted. I’m home.

Teresa said that once they had moved into the house properly and settled, the facts of what they have been through and left behind will “sink in”.

“I think it will just sink in actually what we’ve been through and the nice people we’ve left behind in hotels,” she said.

We’ll be thinking of them Christmas day as well and hoping that they get their home just like we have.

They’re just wonderful children, wonderful families and they’re just going to be stuck in a hotel room for Christmas Day. It’s really hard to think of the babies there. 

Latest figures show that in the month of October there were 5,999 adults and 3,725 children homeless and living in state-funded emergency accommodation across the country. 

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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