Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Housebound but homeless

e-book available here http://www.corinaduyn.com/site/shop/hatched-re-hatched/
Page from Hatched now available as e-book 

During my first year of illness, I found myself housebound and  facing homelessness at the same time.  I had one night left in rented accomodation. This experience will never leave me. 

In the Ireland of today homelessness is a BIG problem. It breaks my heart that people are sleeping out in the cold. That some feel that this is safer to be outside than staying at a dedicated hostel, out of fear of those who stay there have used drugs or alcohol.
Homeless people sleeping in doorways of shops, where all the commercial Christmas 'stuff' is displayed in all it's glory behind them.
A bigger contradiction can not be found.

Google 'Irish homelessness' and about 518.000 results come up...

My own story with a 'brush with homelesness' is that in the first year of being ill I staying in friend's houses until I found a flat in the centre of town. The drawback was that it was upstairs.
I used only the first floor and had my bed in the living room. But it was warm and I was in town.

The local librarian Evelyn Coady shared this memory at the Hatched Booklaunch in Lismore in June of 2006: "Dropping an audio book in to Corina back in 1999 I was horrified to see the wheelchair abandoned at the bottom of a steep staircase – Like Rapunzel incarcerated in her ivory tower Corina was trapped – trapped in a body unsure how to function – trapped – trapped full stop.
“Housebound but Homeless”
I was under the impression that I had this flat on a long term basis. But the landlord came up one day and said that he needed it for a holiday let. More money no doubt for those few weeks, but the rest of the year the place would be empty. 
My friends and carers were angry. Very angry. 
My belongings were packed up around me, and plans were made to bring me to the county council offices to have me sleep in their hallway, out of protest. Other plans were to stay at a B&B... There were various Council houses vacant in the town, one even with a ramp for wheelchair use... Empty for at least a year... But due to local elections no houses were given out until after the elections. To make a long, painful story, short, I received a letter in the post the day before I had to vacate my flat. My new homehelp was with me when the post arrived, and as by miracle, my new home was across the road from hers.
Every time I read or hear about homelessness, I recall this event. 
Homelessness should not be as big a problem as it is. Even again today in this little town where I live there are empty houses. Some for months, maybe a year... I can imagine that this is not just happening in our town.

There are many organizations in Ireland to support people who are homeless, or at the brink of becoming homeless.  For example Focus Ireland  or the Simon community 

Part of the Bag of Hope
I am not able to help them in a 'hands on' way, but every year I make donations in stead of buying gifts. This year I also made a Bag of Hope, a rather large version of the more familiar Shoe Box Appeal. I filled a bag with a full set of clothing, shoes, socks, jacket, hat and gloves, toiletries, book, notebook and pens, a few snacks, etc. A reader of my Facebook Post, created a bag too. She even included a small sewing kit, and a colouring book. Another friend brought the bags to Cork.
I hope that these small gestures made a bit of a difference in someones day.

Another way I hope to do my bit this year is by making donations from sales of my book. 
See the Little Wings Christmas Appeal on how to get involved,
 if you would like to help me help others.

I feel immensely fortunate to have a house.
To have a roof over my head.
To have clothes, shoes, food, heat. 
To have a warm bed to get into.

is too small a word 
for today.

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