Fiona and Jake's Story*
Fiona was referred to Midlands Simon Community six years ago by the local Town Council. At the time, Fiona and her son, Jake, aged 10, were living in a rented flat, with very damp and cold conditions even with the heating on. The flat was so bad during the winter, Fiona and Jake would sleep on the couch in front of the fire, hoping it would help keep them warm.
Fiona has a mild learning disability and was always very vulnerable. Some people took advantage of her generosity and ability to see no harm in anyone. One Christmas, Fiona borrowed money from a money lender, hoping to give Jake a Christmas to be proud of. After this she spent years trapped in poverty, unable to manage her incoming bills and mounting debts.
Fiona was unable to keep up her rent payments and her landlord issued her with an eviction notice. The money lender didn’t give up that easy. He took her duvet, Jake’s Christmas presents, her grandaunt’s ring, anything of value. This might have cleared her debt with him, but it left her with nothing. She struggled with a lot of things, including being unable to buy food for herself and her son. This didn’t help with her self-esteem and made her question her ability to be a good mother to Jake. Some days were very dark, Fiona didn’t know how to keep going and sometimes wondered if she even could.
She reached out to the Town Council who referred her to Midlands Simon Community. Fiona received the support she needed to move away from her past worries and looked forward to creating a future to be proud of with her son. Midlands Simon Community helped Fiona and Jake find a place to live. It was very modest, affordable and was the stepping stone she needed.
Jake, now aged 16, has settled into his new home and is thriving in school. He is in Transition Year and is working bit by bit to build some work experience with a local butcher, hoping to get a trade after his Leaving Cert next year.
Fiona is working in a local restaurant and has become the life and soul of the place. Fiona now has no reason to look over her shoulder. She can stand tall and feel proud with her head held high.
Sometimes we all need a helping hand. Sometimes we look in the wrong direction for that help. We all have rights and we all have the right to support when we need it. Midlands Simon Community provided this support to Fiona and Jake and their lives have changed for the better.
*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of our clients.
What is Homelessness?
Homelessness is about a lack of belonging, a lack of security and a lack of safety. Individuals who use our services are from lots of different backgrounds. We support people in addressing the issues that have caused them to find themselves homeless. We help people to move on and find long-term accommodation. For our Service Users this is a chance for a new beginning and a fresh start.
Please show your support for the homeless services in the Midlands and help someone in your community on their pathway out of homelessness with a kind donation.