Ballyfermot volunteer became homeless after battling with mental health problems, self harm and alcohol abuse

A community volunteer from Ballevermot has become homeless after battling mental health issues, self-harm and alcoholism.

Eddie Brennan, 54, was a volunteer driver for youth and seniors clubs before depression took over his life at the age of 30, sending him into a 20-year downward spiral of homeless shelters and psychiatric hospitals.

He said, “I’ve been going in circles. When you’re homeless, you’re afraid to level yourself. You’re afraid to get to know anyone because you’re always moving forward.”

“In the hostel, nothing was permanent. Every six months or so I must pack my bags and move to the next inn until I can never settle anywhere.”

Eddie has received lifesaving help from the Salvation Army, and now the York House Lifehouse on Longford Street is called his home.

He stays with 80 other men recovering from mental health or addiction issues.

“I have my own key, my own place, a desk and shelves. I have privacy when I need it, but I also know someone is watching over me. As I see it, we are all brothers and sisters here.”

“Respect, structure, and security — if you have these things, you can move on with your life.”

A total of 133 families, along with 386 men, women and under 18s, were supported through homelessness by The Salvation Army in Dublin last year.

Every night, the organization has provided safe families to more than 400 people in the capital this year.

The church and Christian charities have worked with Dublin City Council to open a new family center despite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Salvation Army Regional Director, Neil McKitrick said: “The Family Center is designed and suited only as short-term housing for families – in the time they spend with us we always help them explore options to secure their own accommodations and make their situations as comfortable as possible.

“This includes the skills needed to support them when they return to the community.

“To support large families who find themselves homeless, we have opened a third family center at Houben House in Harold’s Cross.

“There is desire and momentum across the EU, including Dublin, to eliminate homelessness by 2030 and we want to play our part in that.”

In 2020, more than 28,000 meals were served for adults and children and hundreds of food parcels were distributed through the three family hubs, which also provide cooking classes, advice on healthy eating, sports and physical activities, audition nights and religious/spiritual support.

Separately, at the adult and emergency sites at Coleraine Street, York House, and Granby Center, 298 adults were supported by staff.

The Salvation Army has also hosted 88 youths under 18, 71 boys and 17 girls, and has opened a new church and community café open to the public on Kings Inns.

The religious and charitable organization promotes the improvement, renewal and rehabilitation of needy or vulnerable people.

They are collaborating with Dublin City Council, HSE and other agencies to reduce homelessness in the capital and are asking people to support Christmas Appeal to ensure it stays in place to care for anyone who is hungry, lost or lonely.

If you can help, donate here Or dial: 0818600101.

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