I used to rent. I had a lovely apartment but then a relative offered me a house which she and her husband owned. They had moved and wanted to rent out their house to someone they knew. I rented that house for two years but then my relative and her husband split up. So the husband needed somewhere to stay and I had to leave the house and try and find somewhere else to stay. That’s how I ended up in trouble.
I moved in with relatives for 6 months, where me and my son where living in a sitting room. My relative had cancer and we just couldn’t continue to be there. I went to the Council then and they put me and my son into a homeless hostel in the city centre.
That was just dreadful. My son was bullied loads, all the time. Kids of different ages were all mixed in and the older kids bullied the younger ones. Every night we had to be in by 9, but the kitchen would close at 7. So you had no cooking facilities, no food. The two of us staying in a tiny room. It was very hard on my son. It took two buses to get to school, and it was awful.
All the time I was looking for rental accommodation. They all said no rent allowance. I still went, I used to dress up, bring my folder with all my references, everything I needed. I hoped that if I let them know what had happened that they might let the house to me, but no, there was no chance of a landlord doing that. Once rent allowance was mentioned that was it.
After seven months in the hostel my son was getting even more badly bullied. I have photos of him with bruises and marks from the bullying. On one day I saw a ten year old kicking my 5 year old son across the courtyard. The hostel was killing the relationship between me and my son, it was horrible. It was affecting his school and his teachers could see him getting more withdrawn.
The council then referred me to Peter McVerry Trust. They were very helpful, and told me that they had an apartment for me and my son. In December 2014 I moved into my brand new apartment. It was brilliant to be in my new home for Christmas and avoid the anxiety and stress of being homeless with my son at Christmas.
Kerry has been able to secure a job since she moved into her new apartment and her son is doing well in school. Kerry and her son, continue to receive ongoing support from Peter McVerry Trust’s Housing with Supports service.