THE stark reality of the housing crisis in West Cork was laid bare at a recent forum which heard of a teenage boy having to sleep on a kitchen floor with his sister.
Another case study told of a mum from the Travelling community who has to sleep in the same bed as her mother alongside her baby, as she can’t secure rental accommodation.
Their stories were shared at the West Cork Child and Family Support Network (CFSN) forum organised to put the spotlight on homelessness in the region.
The event was held at the Clonakilty Further Education and Training Centre and attended by various representatives working with young people and families.
The first case study came from a teenage boy whose family were forced to leave their home and move in with the family’s grandmother after the landlord sold the house they were renting.
He said he sleeps on the kitchen floor with his sister, while his parents sleep in the sitting room.
He added that his schooling needs are being affected by his situation and that he doesn’t fit in with his friends as he doesn’t have a home to call his own.
‘I don’t have a home and don’t want to explain to others my age why they can’t come to my house. It all feels so pointless,’ he said.
The second case study came from a mum-of-one from the Travelling community who spoke about the hidden homelessness in the her community. She said being a Traveller had affected her getting accommodation which in turn is affecting her mental and emotional health. She said that some landlords do not want to know when they realise she is from the Travelling community and others come up with excuses when she tells them she will paying by HAP (Housing Assistance Payment).
‘I have nowhere to go and am staying in a family home which is already overcrowded. I have to sleep in the same bed as my mother with my baby beside me,’ she said.
Padraig O’Donovan, chair of the West Cork CFSN branch, said there was great energy at the forum which translated into some real practical solutions. ‘Collectively we want to ensure the voices of those who engage with all of our services for whom housing and homelessness is an issue are heard and that they will be able to get suitable and appropriate accommodation to their needs,’ he said.