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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

'I was boiling pasta and eggs in the kettle just to feed the kids'

Bridget and her two children lived in temporary accommodation over a pub when they became homeless, sharing a toilet with customers.

Image: mother with children image via Shutterstock

BRIDGET IS A mother of two who became homeless and lived in temporary accommodation after falling on difficult times.

The accommodation was over a pub and the toilets she and her two children used were also used by customers from the pub.

There was no kitchen for her to cook for her family.

I was reduced to having to boil pasta and eggs in the kettle just so they had something they could eat.

The woman feared for her family’s safety and slept with their suitcases against the bedroom door.

Her son Finn has autism and Bridget said this made it even more difficult to manage and to find a suitable place to live. ”You can’t have a house directly on the main road with an autistic child. It would be too dangerous,” she said.

One day, a young woman staying in the temporary accommodation, who the family had been friendly with, took her own life. Bridget said it was hard to see her already vulnerable children dealing with tragic events like this. She became determined to find a house for them – they could no longer live in this place.

She sought help from Focus Ireland who found her a house four days before her daughter’s birthday. The landlord has done work on the house to make it more secure for Finn and the family have settled in well to the local community. They have even been adopted by the local cat, which Finn is delighted with.

Now they feel safe.

Bridget said that it is sometimes the little things that really hit you. Last Christmas, the family were able to have a tree for the first time in a long while.

“Having a home means that the sense of safety is unbelievable,” she said. “I can close the door and it’s just me and the kids. I can keep my children safe and they are in an environment and we are not all stuck living in one room over a pub.”

Bridget is just one of the 10,000 people Focus Ireland helped last year. The charity released its annual report for 2013 today, which pointed to a 25% increase in the demand for its services.

The homeless charity said  it has seen a particular increase in the number of families becoming homeless and if the government is going to achieve its aim of ending the crisis by 2016, it will need a combination of rent controls and social housing construction.

Read: How is Dublin spending 100 times more on hotels for homeless people than in 2010?>

Read: ‘The government needs to act now’: Demand for homeless service up 25%>

Read: ‘The homeless tsunami has arrived’ as Dublin numbers reach new high>

Read: ‘If it wasn’t for friends, I’d literally be on the streets’>

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