The Manager of the Men’s Hostel in Waterford says he’s never seen so many women presenting as homeless.
15 women were among the 50 people who availed of a space at the cold weather initiative over the past three months.
The unit was opened before Christmas to take people off the streets however it’s set to close at the end of this month.
There’s no showers or cooking facilities and both men and women sleep on the floor in the same room and share the one toilet.
Terence O’Neill is the Manager of the Men’s Hostel in Waterford:
“The amount of women, I just found it very difficult. When you go back 10 years ago we had three or four women on the streets, then a few years ago there were none, now we’re gone back to a higher level than we had before.”
He says the drug situation is also changing and getting worse, fewer people maybe taking heroin “but they are taking benzos and other new tablets that you don’t know what’s in them”.
Terence O’Neill it’s not as simple as giving someone a house: “you need accommodation and a wraparound service to go with that, especially when you’re talking about someone who is in a chaotic situation.”
One of the women availing of the service, says people are falling through the cracks in the system.
The woman WLR news spoke to has been staying there for two weeks. She’s currently doing a course and is trying her best to stay clean:
“I would probably have been one of the most prolific heroin addicts that there is, I became clean off that, I’m trying my best to better myself and the likes of the council will plod you back. They tell you when you go into recovery ‘oh get help from the supports’, but there’s no shoelaces tying them together so you fall down through the cracks”.
She doesn’t know what she’ll do once the unit closes, and says everyone in the hostel is in the same situation. She says it’s impossible to get the money together for a place of her own.