'Dear Santy, I don't want toys this year, just a home'
A nine year-old homeless boy has written a note to Santa asking for a home for his family this Christmas.
Scott Hogan who has asperger's syndrome and ADHD wants to be a footballer one day but this Christmas, unlike all the kids in his class, he's not asking for presents. All he dreams of is waking up in a house with his mum, Selina and sister Lauren (15) far away from his life in a cramped hotel room.
Scott, from Ballyfermot, has been homeless and living in a hotel in the north inner city with his family for five months, after they had to leave their long-term rented home when the landlord was selling up.
Selina cried when she spoke of her son's Christmas wish, saying: "My son wrote he wants a house for Christmas on his Santy letter when he should be asking for toys, as a child."
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In the touching letter Scott wrote 'Dear Santy, I don't want toys this year, I just want a house.'
"But he's like one of thousands of children in this city now. It's a reality for these children.
"All he wants, all they want, is a home for Christmas but I know the closer it approaches, the more unlikely it is.
"It's tough at this time of year - we aren't even allowed a Christmas tree in the room to let the kids know it's Christmas."
Selina is sharing a double bed with her daughter, who is struggling to find space to study for her Junior Cert, while Scott has his own single bed in the small hotel room. The family wake up at 6.30am every weekday to catch a bus to schools in Ballyfermot, 10km away. They are mainly living off takeaways and have nowhere to invite their friends.
Selilna said she'd contacted close to 100 houses for rent and had viewed numerous properties but claimed when she mentioned Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) "letting agents' voices changed and I never got the houses".
A Dublin Region Homeless Executive spokeswoman said: "When an individual is in emergency accommodation and on the housing list, there are options available to source alternative accommodation."