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RTE
homeless in dublin

Ireland's Property Crisis: 'You're just waiting on a system that may or may not work properly'

Colin McSweeney is one of 4,875 adults nationwide relying on emergency accommodation every night.

AN RTÉ DOCUMENTARY highlighting Ireland’s property crisis tonight shone a light on a homeless Trinity College graduate who is working but still can’t afford somewhere to live.

Colin McSweeney, 45, began working in the IT sector after completing his degree in Dublin. When that company folded, he found himself not being able to afford his rent and relying on the emergency accommodation system to shelter him.

Although he has a job as a researcher in a library, Colin spends his nights searching for accommodation in different hostels.

The college graduate details the trouble with finding a bed in the city and revealed that he sometimes relies on using the 24-hour Starbucks, which is located at the former Anglo Irish Bank HQ on St Stephen’s Green, to keep him warm through the night.

“This is Dublin’s first and only 24-hour Starbucks. I’ve spent a few nights over the last five months here. I’ve gone an entire evening here on just a cup of tea. The one thing is that if you try and sleep, you’ll be woken up by the security guard. But they’re nice.”

Colin is forced to find ways of keeping warm and safe for a whole night when the emergency accommodation system lets him down.

He spends his days in Pearse Street library waiting for a call back to see whether or not he has somewhere to stay that night.

colin Colin receives the phone call telling him he has a bed for the night.

Waiting on the call, he says: “Today revolves around this phone call. At this point, the system should ring me back.

“A lot of the time, you’re just waiting on a system that may or may not work properly and call you back. The longer you wait, the worse it seems.”

Thankfully, just as he was about to give up hope, Colin receives a call telling him he has a bed for the night and he makes his way to Frederick Street. This is what he does every night of the week.

Other people featured on Ireland’s Property Crisis included single mother Selena who is trying to find a new home to rent since her landlord sold her current property. Selena must leave the property by Easter Monday but the new Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme has found nothing suitable in her area.

In another example of people trying to make ends meet, the Sadlier family are paying rent on their house in Donnycarney, Dublin, while also trying to pay off the mortgage on a one-bed apartment they bought ten years ago.

The number of people presenting as homeless in Ireland was at an all-time high in February.

There were 4,875 adults staying in emergency accommodation. As well as this, there are 1,239 families with 2,546 children, according to the latest Housing Department figures.

Read: Simon Coveney: Hotels will no longer be used to house homeless families by July >

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