Aoife, now a university graduate, reflects on the challenges with accommodation she encountered as a student. After exiting the foster care system at 18 and completing her Leaving Certificate, Aoife was offered a place on a PLC course and secured rented accommodation in Galway. However, she encountered issues shortly after entering the rental sector.
“I didn’t know the worries and the dangers of going into rented accommodation; I just picked the first place I saw. Then I found out last minute that the landlord was about to sell the house and I had nothing saved. I didn’t have anywhere to go”
Aoife’s situation was further complicated by additional healthcare needs. Without any family to turn to for support, Aoife reached out instead to Galway Simon Community. Fortunately, Galway Simon was able to give Aoife a place to stay in our Youth Service, and she also received other supports including counselling, and was encouraged to continue on her pathway in education. She was provided with financial advice, healthcare support, and life skills which enabled her to live independently. Since reaching out to Galway Simon Aoife has successfully completed her undergraduate degree, has been offered a provisional place on a master’s degree course, and plans to pursue a PhD. She also advocates on behalf of young people who have come from care backgrounds, particularly in the area of ethics and promoting awareness of housing solutions. She says of her experience that “I shouldn’t have had to rely on services like Galway Simon, but if I didn’t have Galway Simon, I don’t know where I’d be right now”.
Aoife also shared with us how her experience changed the way she viewed those experiencing homelessness “when you hear the word ‘homelessness’ you genuinely think drug-users and, you know, old people”. A view she no longer holds after her experience and having met other clients of Galway Simon.
Each and every day stories like this remind us how grateful we are to our supporters. Without you our work would simply not be possible.
Please note Aoife’s name and image have been changed to protect her identity, however her story is very much true.