It’s tough out there for the homeless people in Dublin. I can’t imagine many people enjoying living on the streets, sleeping in shop entrances, being kicked out all the time and not having much of a chance to get back into “normal” life. Yes, many of the homeless are not making things easier for themselves by being addicted to alcohol or other substances, but when you think about the savings most people have nowadays, there are MANY people just one month away from homelessness.

It happens like this:
Unexpectedly your company fires you. That might be because they are restructuring or moving or closing down and possibly has nothing to do with your work. You don’t own your place, but rent it. You have to work until the last day of your employment and your employer doesn’t give you time to look for the next job/go to interviews. You have no savings because that was never your strongest point and the rent is so high anyway that you find it very hard to save anything. The job finishes but you have difficulties to find the next job. Maybe it is your skills, maybe your age, maybe the location, maybe your confidence, but things are not going your way and now the next rent is due and you can’t pay it. You will HAVE to move out. Some friends let you sleep on their couch. But soon you have used up all your friends and next you end up on the street.

We might think “This can’t happen to me.” but add some health problems or other issues and if there are no savings, many are just one months rent away from homelessness.

Would it be helpful in that situation if the people that look after the homeless have some understanding of the challenges? Maybe even have some empathy? We all agree that that would be a big help!

Unfortunately the head of the “Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE)” which also calls itself sometimes “Dublin Region Housing Executive” isn’t so full of empathy or understanding it seems. On Tuesday, Eileen Gleeson, the head of the DRHE famously said at a meeting of the Dublin City Joint Policing Committee on Tuesday

“Let’s be under no illusion here, when somebody becomes homeless it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years of bad behaviour probably, or behaviour that isn’t the behaviour of you and me.”

Years of bad behaviour?! She really has no clue! She really seems to think that all homeless people are addicts or incapable to live in a home.

But that was not all! She also was talking about organisations that help homeless people and said “If they’re only getting a cup of soup and they’re homeless it isn’t helpful.”

Well, on a cold evening in the streets of Dublin, I would happily take a cup of soup and a sandwich if I was homeless and it could be a tremendous help to SURVIVE, so that I see the next morning when the snobs of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive tell me that it is all my own fault for being homeless. Unbelievable!

Eileen Gleeson was on the spot when she answered questions and made these statements, so sometimes we say things we don’t mean and use words we would/should not have used. In a very very supportive way and to help out Ciara Kelly on Newstalk offered Eileen Gleeson NUMEROUS opportunities to apologise, but there was no apology. She did say “To be honest, I could have probably used better language in trying to explain the point I was trying to make.” but that certainly doesn’t sound like an apology.

Can somebody who has so little understanding for her “clients” be the best person to provide good services????