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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 18 February, 2020

'I have a fire in my belly': Homeless mother speaks of being accepted to Trinity College

Erica Fleming and her daughter Emily have been homeless for 331 days.

Source: RTÉ Radio 1/SoundCloud

A SINGLE MOTHER who has been living in homeless accommodation with her daughter for more than 300 days has spoken of her delight at being accepted for a college course in Trinity College, Dublin.

Erica Fleming and her 9-year-old daughter Emily featured in an RTÉ documentary on homeless families earlier this year. She works 29 hours a week as a receptionist, but was unable to afford rent and is not entitled to rent supplement.

At the time the Prime Time programme aired, they had already been living in a hotel room for seven months – and they are still there. One thing has changed though; Erica will, in a few months, be starting college at Trinity.

Speaking to Ray D’Arcy earlier today, she said she had been encouraged to apply for the university’s access programme by Social Democrats councillor Gary Gannon.

“It’s amazing to go to Trinity, I’m thrilled,” she said. “I never even thought I’d go back to college, I thought I’d just be a receptionist”.

“I’ve just always worked, worked worked, so it’s a big lifestyle change, but our time is now, the time to do it is now.”

I have a fire in my belly, you see, which I never had before. I never had self-belief, I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t have put myself out there before.

As for her living situation, Fleming said it does not look like that is going to change anytime soon.

She has asked for a meeting with Minister Simon Coveney and suggested he should bring all of the homeless agencies together to try to come up with some solutions.

“To be honest, if you had asked me to come in last week I would have said no because I was really down last week over the fact that the system is moving so slow and there doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency,” she told D’Arcy. “It can start to grate on you.”

Read: ‘We have a toilet, a bed, and a desk. That’s where we live’>

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