I had an argument with my partner and I knew that I had to leave . . . the domestic violence was gettin’ too much . . . I was gonna end up dead.
I got a bus to Cork . . . luckily it was running . . . I knew I wasn’t going back . . . and I thought, “I might be able to get a bed in Edel House” . . . it’s a homeless hostel for women. I went there, but it all changed. They said they hadn’t got a bed. They gave me the use of their phone and I phoned a CWO (Community Welfare Officer) at a Homeless Unit in Drinan St. They were actually closed, they offered to pay for a B&B and gave me certain B&B’s numbers to phone.
We have used stock photography for this image
They told me to keep trying and was lucky I got a B&B . . . went back to them the next morning . . . showed my face at Drinan St. . . . Community Welfare Officer again and they reimbursed the money . . . and they gave me two nights to cover me for the weekend. So I had to find a bed . . . and I was bawlin’. I went in to OSS on North Main St. which is a Domestic Violence Service, to see if they could help me.
They offered a refuge up past Limerick somewhere. I had a child, so it was too far altogether. Anyway, I was looking for B&Bs . . . like, I was crying . . . I did not know . . . and then, all of a sudden, the phone went and I had a bed in Edel House . . . and they said, “come over” and I was really happy . . . and the worry . . . and they gave me help and support. I mean, it was a tough few months, but I got through it anyway.
My daughter was in voluntary care. I had an addiction problem, she has been with her Nana since nine and a half months old. So well, Edel House . . . you get given a key worker in there.
They work with you and you just meet up and chat . . . and you have to take letters over to the City Hall. Then you have to apply for your Rent Allowance. It’s some run around . . . it really is. . . they just help you get on your feet . . . get the rent up and going . . . all you can keep really doing is looking on Daft.ie or on the papers for accommodation.
I was 9 and a half months in Edel House. When I went in there I was actually drink and drug free . . . and, it wasn’t because of the place but, I ended up relapsing on drugs . . . and I had to admit to the staff . . .
Oh goodness! I had to go to Arbor House and attend the clinic . . . and I’m still working with them today. And then I also lost my partner when I was in there. . . I was in Edel House four months when he passed away . . . otherwise I’d have ended up back with him, d’you know.
I’m lucky because I got supported. I got my own place through Edel House, through one of their workers . . . I don’t know how they found it, they linked in to a good few people, just someone they know.
Then, I hadn’t actually heard about the Education and Development and my key worker told me,” Why don’t you come up and see for the day?” and I met Ger, and I thought “Goodness! I’ll give it a go”.
I thought it might not be for me at all. It’s really changed me, helped to get routine in my life. I hadn’t had it for such a long time. I forgot what life was . . . honest! It’s just shown me bit by bit. Computers, communications . . . just the people . . . everyone’s caring! I realise that there really is more to life.
You just have to get up off your bum and . . . you just have to believe and keep setting goals. Now I’ve got a house and my whole life has changed really. I’m so much more comfortable. I can sleep at night . . . don’t have no fear of him coming in under the influence of drink . . . have my own key . . . my own shower. I’m still attending classes and looking into going into Further Education.
I still have to detox off methadone but my plans are to detox and get a job for myself . . . slowly, slowly, slowly. I can’t really make big goals, you know. My Aftercare worker; I can meet up anytime if I’ve any problems . . . she’s fantastic!
It’s what you keep looking into you know . . .
[Jennifer is not her real name]