Tuesday 17 September 2019

'Tent city' brings home plight of rough sleepers

Protest: Wesley Condon and Synthia Klawa
Protest: Wesley Condon and Synthia Klawa

Gabija Gataveckaite

A couple who spent two years living in a tent yesterday backed a charity's 'tent city' initiative to highlight the issue of homelessness. Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) erected tents outside Dublin City Council HQ to protsest at the rising number of rough sleepers.

Engaged couple Wesley Condon and Synthia Klawa were on hand to back the initiative and to speak about their own experience of being homeless and how ICHH had helped them.

"We were in a tent for two years," Mr Condon said. "These people used to come to us at 2am, offering a hot cup of tea or soup and it was like you had someone to talk to, because you were nearly invisible. The charity treated you like a human being.

"They were great because they would give you clean clothes. If your tent was wrecked they'd give you a new tent and sleeping bags."

The couple now live in a hostel together and are attending a course so they can rebuild their lives in "baby steps".

Cllr Anthony Flynn, the charity's chief executive, said the number of rough sleepers has hit an all-time high.

"We had the highest ever recorded number on Monday night, which was 238, which is totally unacceptable," he said. "We haven't got the will to end homelessness and we don't believe that the council are working to end homelessness."

Irish Independent

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