Client blog: Homeless at Christmas

This blog post comes directly from a Merchants Quay Ireland Homeless Services client who asked to remain anonymous.聽

Christmas is supposed to be spent with family. When I think of Christmas, I think of a lot of joy, a lot of love, and just kind of being there, having happy times and feeling that warmth. Homelessness is the opposite of that. Christmas, when you鈥檙e homeless, is depressing. It hurts.

This will be my first Christmas being homeless. I鈥檓 dreading it, and it鈥檚 not just Christmas. There鈥檚 something awful about spending New Year鈥檚 Eve alone.聽 I was hoping to reconnect with my family, but I鈥檓 not sure that鈥檚 going to happen.

This Christmas, I鈥檒l have to call up the freephone to get allocated a bed. I might not get a hostel where I know anyone, but hopefully I will. Hopefully, I can get over the sadness of spending Christmas in hostels, because it鈥檚 not all bad. You have the staff at Merchants Quay. I haven鈥檛 a bad word to say about them. And you have the people who come to Merchants Quay here, I haven鈥檛 a bad word to say about them either. They鈥檙e all genuine people. Since I鈥檝e become homeless they鈥檝e helped me a lot, they鈥檝e looked out for me. So maybe I鈥檒l be sharing Christmas with them, people in the same situation. You need to make the most of it if you鈥檙e going to get through the situation that you鈥檙e in.

Even if I鈥檓 spending Christmas and New Year鈥檚 in a hostel, there鈥檚 other people out there who have it worse, sleeping on the streets, in the snow. They鈥檙e going to wake up shaking and drenched from head to toe. Someone once told me that he was on sleeping on the streets. When he bedded down, it was all clear 鈥 the skies were clear, it was cold but dry. He woke up in the morning in two feet of snow. Could you imagine that? He couldn鈥檛 feel his fingers or legs. Couldn鈥檛 feel anything.

Over winter, most days I鈥檓 just walking around town. Going into places, trying to catch warmth. It鈥檚 difficult. You鈥檇 think they鈥檇 open the hostels for 24 hours, just to help you catch some warmth. I鈥檇 go to McDonald鈥檚 or Dr Quirky鈥檚. Sometimes I鈥檇 go to shops, just stand in the doorway because you鈥檇 have warmth behind you, so you鈥檇 only feel half cold. Mostly McDonald鈥檚 or Burger King. Just sit in there, catch warmth.

If I could give one message to the public, it鈥檚 just to ask for kindness. People who are homeless are people just like you. They came into this world the same as you did. If you see someone on the streets, say hello, get them a cup of tea or a cup of hot chocolate because what if you were in their shoes? That cup of tea might help keep them warm.

 

You can help support MQI鈥檚 work the Christmas by visiting https://mqi.ie/christmas/

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