A single parent from Tallaght has spoken out about how she and her 3 year old are facing another Christmess without a home. Faith O’Brien is a healthcare worker who has been sleeping on couches and living out of her car, as she cannot afford a house given record high rents. Her situation has been highlighted by Paul Murphy, People Before Profit TD for Dublin South West, who claims it is an example of how “the government’s housing policy has completely failed.
O’Brien said: “I have been couch surfing and living out of my car for almost 3 years now. My car has become my home, I have spent countless nights sleeping in it with my 3 year old son. I’m a single mother and a healthcare worker and still my income would never be enough for rent. I never know where we will be next week. I just want to give my son a home. I’m tired of struggling, it’s starting to affect my mental health and It’s worse now with winter as my son suffers from asthma. How am I supposed to keep him warm when we don’t even have a home to heat?”
Paul Murphy TD highlighted how figures from the Department of Housing show that 9,188 adults and 3,911 children were in emergency accommodation in October, with many more homeless but not recorded in the official numbers. The housing campaigner said “It is shameful for the Minister for Housing that more than three years into his term, the number of people living in emergency accommodation has grown by 52%. The number of children growing up without a home has shockingly increased by 50%. According to Depaul 8 babies were born into their homeless services this year. There are kids growing up in Ireland now who have never known what it is like to have a secure roof over their heads.
The socialist TD highlighted that homelessness is particularly high among one parent families: “Of the 1,939 who accessed emergency accommodation last month, 1,107 were single parent families. That’s 57% of those accessing emergency accommodation. It is clear that this crisis is disproportionately affecting single parent families.
“There will be thousands of families facing Christmas with no home, the government could help ease these numbers by reviving the thousands of vacant and derelict buildings as public housing and reinstating the no fault eviction ban with immediate effect. We also need to see a date announced for a referendum on a right to housing, a commitment that they made in the Programme for Government – but with their time nearing an end this government has still not announced a date for this vote.”