Housing Stories

Frontline contributors illustrate the difficulties associated with independent living for people who live with intellectual disability.

Story 1 – John feels he lives in a dangerous area. He has to deal with threats.
Story 2 – Conor would like to be independent but came across difficulties getting on the housing list.
Story 3 – Jack wants to be indpendent but was given a place in a group home which he didn’t like.
Story 4 – Liam was left with €34 per week after housing costs. He was homeless for a time too which makes life difficult with medication etc. He has an interesting story and good advice for people.
Story 1

by John

I feel like I would be better off outside of the area. I don’t feel safe in the area because there are some dangerous people there. There were threats being made, and the guards investigated and they asked if there were more threats afterwards. Two weeks later there were more threats made towards me. I said to the social worker “if you can get me out of the area I would be prepared to move anywhere”.

I have found it difficult to get on the housing list because there is a Garda investigation going on. I was in a B&B for a week and then I was over in a hotel for two weeks until things died down a bit, but now I’m back home. I had a meeting with the HSE and the family about what I’m going to do. My social worker thought that my other family members were going to gang up on me and wouldn’t think twice about attacking me. So the guards are trying to keep us away until the investigation is over- I asked the social worker how we’re going to get around the council. I need to go where my sister and her husband can’t find me. It’s been going on for the last two years (since 2013).

I had to make a complaint about the threats. The social worker had to come into the Garda station to me. The guards handed the threats to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) as evidence.

If I moved house I wouldn’t be looking over my shoulders as much, so it will be better.

Story 2

by Conor

I got the housing list form and filled out all my details. After I submitted it, the housing office lost the form. I applied for another housing list form, and then they found the one they lost before. It took me weeks to get on the list. The council said I had to do an independent living skills course to see if I could live on my own. Before the course I was number 1684 on the list and then they made me priority. I got a letter off them saying that I would have a place in twelve weeks if I could get €1,000-

I will be happy to have a place because then I will be out of my Nanny’s house and my sister’s house. When I’m living on my own I can make a mess and do what I want to and they’ll give me a key worker to check on my place every day. I’m praying every day for them to hurry up.

Story 3

by Jack

I was living at home first, and I was on the housing list. Because I was on the list, I was given a place in a group home in 2010- In 2011 I moved back home because I didn’t like the group home that I was in. Now I’m living at home with my parents and the council took me off the list. I would like to go back on the housing list because I want to be independent.

I’m talking to my advocate and I’ve been working with my social worker. They are helping me get my name on the list. I’m also talking to my local TD and he’s working with me and my family and he helps me with it. All three of these people have been very helpful to me.


Story 4

by Liam

I have been on the social housing list since April 2012.

I am still living in a bedsit at the moment, hoping to be housed soon, three years on.

I am a diabetic, and being homeless over the past few years means I haven’t had a place to store my medication. I have been in and out of Bed and Breakfasts, and campus accommodation in the university I was studying in, at one point living on €34 a week after accommodation costs. This was funded by my disability allowance, HEA grant, and selling my belongings.

So far, trying to be housed has been very difficult and confusing. You can only apply to one county council housing list at a time, meaning when I was placed as number 555 on my local housing list, I was unable to apply to another area of the city.

While I should have been attending my college course, I was going around in circles trying to find a permanent base for myself-

After I was made homeless, I got in contact with a number of homeless services.

I approached Focus Ireland, but the current housing crisis is so bad that I found the office in Temple Bar overflowing.

Threshold Access Housing Unit, which doesn’t exist anymore, did help me, and I think it’s a shame that this service doesn’t exist anymore.

In an effort to move up the housing list, I got letters of support from my GP, advocate, and university. Unfortunately, none of these made a difference. I found this very frustrating, as I had had a change of circumstances for the worse, and this did not improve my position on the housing list. It seems a change in circumstances only impacts your position on the list if it is a change for the better.

My GP referring me to a local social worker made a huge difference to me. This person was in contact with the local housing clinic, and they were able to connect me with the local housing officer. This person advised me to revisit the previous people for a letter of support again, and to visit my local TD.

I attended my local TD’s weekly clinic, and he was able to offer me a letter of support, which proved to be the most effective one so far.

I would advise that if you find yourself hitting a brick wall, it would be a good idea to go speak to your local TD or counsellor, as they may be able to help. Each situation is different, but these people are there to help.


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