James’s story

James in many ways typified the stereotypical homeless man, who lost everything to gambling and substance abuse. He describes here the efforts of his key worker Aileen to help him get his life sorted.

I was in a, basically a hostel, part funded by the council. B&B vouchers stuff like that. I was basically registered homeless, you know. Now in fairness to Aileen. She had every right to give up trying to get in contact. Because I’m useless with the phone. I’m just the worst person in the world for having a phone and she never gives up and that’s what Aileen is good for as well, you know. She also kept a firm grip on reality for me because that’s something that I lacked, so… Well, I nearly lost my tenancy because it was like a night club, you know…

From my perspective, I think she had to work a lot harder, you know. Aye. And she went out of her way to do that you know. And put herself at risk of Covid and everything. But without that happening, I don’t think I would have kept the house, you know, without being grounded by her or whatever.

Aye, getting into rehab was actually a torture. Aw, yeah, I think without Aileen saying that I needed to go to rehab, I’d never have made it. I wouldn’t be alive to be honest without her. I really wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t have a roof over my head or a family to talk to.

Simon? Well, they’re probably the most deserving charity, aren’t they, at the minute because… obviously because of the Housing Crisis. I don’t ask Aileen how much she gets paid but I’m sure it’s not enough. There should be some government incentive to recruit the best minds that we have in this country for this role like that. Maybe even apprenticeships for roles like this. That would be something useful because it’s important work she’s doing there.

I could have lost it all you know. It is important work. She’s doing a hundred jobs at the same time, you know. She’s doing more work than my mental health team, you know. Honest to God. Like she pursues them all, that shouldn’t be the case. She pursues my mental health team, my drug and alcohol counsellors, everything, and  most importantly she pushes me to get things sorted at my end, because we all have to be working together.





Simon Community have now been fighting homelessness in Ireland for 50 years

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