“My name is Helen. I’ve lived my whole life in Galway. I loved living in Galway when I was a child. More than anything, it was the sense of community, of belonging, that I loved. That’s what I want for my three girls. I wouldn’t want them to grow up anywhere else.
But more and more, it’s a struggle. All I want is for them to feel safe and secure, with a roof over their heads. The sad truth is that these days, things can unravel so fast for anyone.
I had a full-time job for many years but I had to give it up to look after my daughters. Two of them were born prematurely and are living with a range of heart-breaking disabilities.
We’ve rented our house for ten years now, but our life here is so uncertain, so unstable. Three years ago, my children, my husband and I nearly ended up being evicted from our home – and we still may end up there yet.
At that time, my youngest daughter was born weeks early and I suddenly needed to buy lots of important equipment to keep her healthy and alive. We had no savings. Bill after bill was stacking up so we dipped into the rent money thinking … we would work that out later. What else could I do?
We fell severely behind in our rent and the next thing we knew, we were being threatened with eviction. It was terrifying. Just blow after blow kept landing on us. The accumulation of several knock-backs – the girls health issues, a death in the family, the kind of thing that could happen to anyone, but all happening at once.
We couldn’t keep up with the bills and I remember lifting the phone to Galway Simon to ask for help. We were utterly worn out. We didn’t know what to do next. But we would have done anything to save our kids from becoming homeless.
The support Galway Simon gave was practical and immediate. Anna stood beside us every step of the way and helped us to keep our home. She helped us get on top of our bills and worked out a plan with the landlord for us to repay what we owed in instalments. She stuck with us and has helped us ever since.
Three years later, the situation in Galway is much worse and I know that more and more we could be one phone call away from becoming homelessness. One phone call to say ‘I’m selling up”….. one small step from having to move to emergency homeless accommodation with the girls.
For the moment we are fine as bad as things are, I shudder to think what the community I grew up in would look like without Simon Community helping people stay in their homes.
We rely on them so much and hope they’ll always be there for our family and other families like ours in Galway. And with your help, they will be.”