2015 – Griffin Guinta

Dublin, Ireland

An excerpt from Griffin’s blog he wrote daily while in Ireland.

“Before I begin, I have to start by saying that Ireland is amazing. The people are incredibly friendly, the food is spectacularly bland, and the scenery is unbeatable. Life is perfect here, it would seem.

For some, though, Ireland isn’t seen through rose-colored glasses. In the city today, I spotted a myriad of homeless individuals in some of the more tourist-centric areas. You may not have noticed them if you weren’t looking, however. Most were cloistered up in some kind of sleeping bag or blanket, “turtling” inside their makeshift forts to escape the harsh Dublin winds. When they did peek out, it was only to check if anyone had tossed a few euros in their Styrofoam cups.

Before I approached any of the homeless individuals, I stopped by Focus Ireland, a non-profit organization that seeks to get people off the street and return them back to the workforce. A representative named Melissa agreed to meet with me for an interview later in the week. I’m hoping she can provide some insight as to what exactly is being done to help remedy the highly apparent issue. From what I’ve gleaned so far, it doesn’t seem to be a lot.

Two homeless individuals in particular stood out to me today: Keith and Steven. Keith gave me a brilliant interview at the modest price of a few crisps and a soda, and Steven had written a poem in chalk about unnecessary judgement of homeless people. From what they told me, neither were into drugs, alcohol or other addictions. They were instead caught in a catch 22 wherein they could not hold a steady job. In order to have a job in Dublin, one must have a permanent address. However, all the money that they saved for a permanent home had to be used for food, clothing, and temporary housing.  Speaking of which, both Keith and Steven feel that there is a distinct lack of housing options for low-income individuals. I haven’t fact checked this yet, but Steven even claimed that some of the temporary hostels encouraged drug use as a means of coping.”