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“I don’t think today can get any more awesome than this.”
These are the words of Barry Gannon, as he entered his own home.
When he moved in earlier this year, it was no ordinary day. The occasion marked a significant moment in Barry’s life – his first day as an adult living in his home.
After going through homelessness and prisons for most of his life, Barry was housed with help from Peter McVerry Trust. He now lives in a two-bedroom duplex in North Dublin, which has allowed him to leave the past behind and start again.
“No-one should be homeless. Everyone should have their own place. I’m just grateful…I’ve never lived on my own,” he said.
“For 20 years, I’ve lived on and off in a cell that would be no bigger than this kitchen. Now I have a two-bedroom house, a sitting room, a kitchen, a toilet, shower, a spacious house…it’s honestly a dream come true.”
Barry first came into contact with Peter McVerry Trust CEO Pat Doyle in 1994, when he was residing in a probation hotel, where Pat was on placement. At this time, Fr Peter McVerry was Barry’s next of kin – the closest thing Barry had to a guardian.
“I’m in debt to Barry, because Barry was my introduction to Peter McVerry Trust, and without my introduction to Peter McVerry I might have never worked in the Trust,” Pat told Barry in Peter McVerry Trust’s recent Facebook Live broadcast.
After years of battling addiction, Barry is now clean and taking part in courses to continue his recovery.
“I’m clean now, I’m sober now,” he said in our Facebook Live broadcast. “You (Pat Doyle) made me a promise – get clean, do a course, we will get you an apartment. And you stuck to your promise.
“With help from Peter McVerry Trust, the housing team, staff, I’m doing great. The Housing Support team call up to me, see how I am,” he added.
Barry is now looking forward to this Christmas – and many more – in his new home.
“I’ll have all the decorations. I’m so looking forward it, having the family around the table…I cannot wait for that,” he said.
“For homeless people – you think you have nothing. This is what can happen if you get your life together. I have my family back. I’m surrounded by friends and family. I feel safe.”
— Peter McVerry Trust (@PMVTrust) October 11, 2017
Barry is the face of our Opening Doors appeal, which is crucial in helping Peter McVerry Trust deliver our services. This year’s appeal focuses on the issue of empty homes and the potential to quickly turn empty buildings into new homes. Click here to learn more.