A Day In The Life Of A Homeless Person Essay

WHEN YOU THINK about homelessness, there’s a tendency to use broad strokes.

It involves sleeping on the streets. It’s mainly to do with alcohol and drugs. It’s not fixable.

As part of our Homeless Ireland series this week, one of the big things we want to do is to hear from homeless people about what their lives are like. To tell their stories about how they ended up where they are and particularly about what their life is like every day.

Our journalists travelled around the country and asked homeless people they met to answer a short number of questions about their lives on index cards that we gave them.

The questions were difficult to put together at first. A lot of them were scrapped: it’s hard to ask people about one of the most difficult things in their life without coming across as patronising.

Instead, we focused on the day-to-day stuff. How long have you been homeless? What’s your biggest fear? What do you think of the gardaí? What’s the best thing that’s happened to you this week?

We’re going to be tweeting some of the answers over the course of the week on our dedicated @HomelessIreland account, and using them throughout our coverage, but you can get a peek at some of them here. We didn’t ask for respondents’ names or identifying details but some people provided them anyway.

Where would you like to be in a year’s time? 

“Off tablets and have some sort of job. I would do any type of work. Peace of mind.”

Do you feel safe? 

No I feel very vulnerable.”

How do you think people who are not homeless view people who are homeless? 

“They view us as dirt like we deserve it but it can happen to anyone.”

Why do you think people become homeless/

“Because of family problems and when my mam and dad died everything fell apart.”

What is the best thing that happened to you this week?

“Got food and money off passers-by whilst sleeping in a door way.”

What three words would you use to describe being homeless?

“Sad, wanting 2 die, you don’t feel any good, you can’t see hope and that’s what everyone need just 2 feel good that’s all.”

What is the hardest thing about being homeless? 

“It can get monotonous, you can’t plan ahead or be productive. Stressful”.

What is the best thing that happened to you this week? 

“I got donated lots of baby clothes, baby bottles, sterilisers, moses baskets. I’m 6 months pregnant with twins and I can’t afford much so I’m grateful there are people out there that can donate.”

Anything you’d like us to know? 

“Finding myself homeless at sixty was simply unbelievable. Very difficult to get my head around it. Realising I had no home which means no postal address. Living in a community where people know the name and address of the homeless shelter and look at you differently when you give it as your current temporary address.”

What makes you feel safe? 

“A private life living alone with enough money to do basic things in life and manage my own affairs and bank account.”

What do you think of the gardaí?

“Fuck them.”

What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? 

“Comfort of family – to go out, to work or whatever – and have somebody to come home to. Not quite that simple but!!!”

What is your biggest fear? 

“My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to live in my own home over all the problems I have I just want to settle down and live a normal life I don’t wanna be homeless ever again.”

How do you think people who are not homeless view people who are homeless? 

“Rubbish scum piece of shit.”

What is the hardest thing about being homeless?

Being in the Fairgreen [hostel in Galway] not being ungrateful but sharing my life with total strangers is hard.”

Where would you like to be in a year’s time? 

“Living in my new home. Health issues resolved. Plan an adventure. Create and implement plan to provide myself with financial security. Check in with councillors if necessary. PS: Make a note to those who helped me during this time and say thanks to them”.

What does the word ‘home’ mean to you? 


Main pic: Andrew Bennett via Flickr/Creative Commons

All other pics: TheJournal.ie

Catch up with the best bits of our Homeless Ireland series > 

...is a calm and cozy building which gathers the family members together. Imagine you don’t have one. Homelessness is a devastating problem. Every year the number of homeless people is increasing all around the world. So what is homelessness? According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development “Homelessness is the condition and social category of people without a regular house or dwelling because they cannot afford or are otherwise unable to maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack, fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence”. There are many reasons that make families homeless; I think the most important reasons are poverty, job loss, and mental and physical health problems. Poverty makes families homeless. And it is the most important factor of homelessness because people who do not have money can’t provide a house, food, health care, and education. Homeless families typically live in cars, campgrounds and shelters. The population of poor people is increasing very year. Why are people becoming poor? There are many reasons to become poor for example: addiction to alcohol and drugs, the person who takes drugs and drink alcohol he/she will spend all his income. People who are poor and addicted are clearly at an increased risk of homelessness (Barrett Foundation). Homeless people often face an insurmountable barrier in obtaining health care,...

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