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CASE HISTORY: Hayley Kearns


‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW I’M GOING TO COPE: Hayley Kearns with her son Paul

‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW I’M GOING TO COPE: Hayley Kearns with her son Paul

Fergal Phillips

‘I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA HOW I’M GOING TO COPE: Hayley Kearns with her son Paul

Last year, 25-year-old Hayley went to her local council offices and told them that she and her five-year-old son Paul were going to be made homeless within the next month. Her rent was being put up to €1,000 a month - well beyond what she could afford.

The council told her that it could do absolutely nothing for her until she was actually physically homeless. She returned as instructed on the day and told them that both she and her son would be on the streets from that night on. It told her there was absolutely nothing it could do for her.

Hayley called around to her local TD and was given the number of Louise Bayliss from SPARK. Through social media, David Hall of Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation contacted her and paid to put Hayley and her son in a B&B for two nights. Two days later, Hayley was "grateful" to be told that she was to be housed over a pub on Dorset Street.

Hayley and Paul had lived previously in Balbriggan so she had to move him to a school in the city. They are currently housed in Ballymun. Hayley works part-time (she is allowed earn €90 without her support payments being affected and after that 40pc of what she earns is deducted from her social welfare) but in November, when Paul turns seven, instead of €90 it will be €60 and 50pc of what she earns will be cut. Between social welfare and an approximately 20-hour working week Hayley earns about €300. She says: "Once this [measure] comes in I will have to quit my job. I could never afford childcare. I totally rely on friends and family. I have to get four buses a day - I can't afford that (about €50 a week). But I can't move Paul to a different school yet again. It wouldn't be right."

At the moment, Hayley is housed by the Peter McVerry Trust which takes 11pc of what she earns for rent. When she gives up work, 11pc will instead be taken out of her Jobseekers Allowance of €188 per week. "That's before bills and food and everything else", she says. "I really want to go to college and do sales and marketing - I want to move up in my job - but I'm never going to get that chance because I will never be able to afford childcare. And no," she says, with anger but not a trace of self-pity, "I have absolutely no idea how I am going to cope. None at all".

Sunday Independent