Tuesday 17 September 2019

Homeless mum-to-be terrified sleeping on the streets

Gemma Hoole, who is pregnant, in her tent on Waterford Quays
Gemma Hoole, who is pregnant, in her tent on Waterford Quays

Adam Cullen

A pregnant woman forced to live in a tent after she was thrown out of her rented home has said she "is terrified" for her unborn child.

Gemma Hoole (30) and her husband had been renting a room in a private house in Waterford city from another individual but were forced to leave when it was revealed that he hadn't been paying the rent.

"He never paid the landlord, and he didn't know we were there," said Gemma. "We hadn't signed a lease, so had no rights. I know loads of people living in house shares and it never crossed our minds," she added.

Gemma, who is expecting her baby in January, called on Waterford County Council for help but was told that due to a housing crisis there was nothing that it could do.

"We slept rough for the first couple of nights outside the council office with our belongings in shopping trolleys," said Gemma.

"But last week a council man came with a guard and told us that if we didn't move from outside the office our tent and belongings would be seized. We didn't have any choice but to move. Now we are staying on the quays, and we have been sleeping rough for three weeks.

"We moved to Ireland from the UK 11 months ago because of problems at home. We are not bad people, and we don't take drugs, we have just fallen on hard times. The council say they can't help us because we are not on social welfare and welfare are saying they can't help us because we don't have an address. What are we supposed to do?"

Irish Independent

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