A homeless man who spent a second night sleeping in a tent outside Cork’s City Hall has pleaded for landlords to help him rebuild his life.
Michael Veale, originally from Waterford, lost everything last weekend when his tent, pitched for several months in a disused inner city car park, was burned in an arson attack.
Touched by his plight, the people of Cork donated almost €2,000 within 48 hours.
Homeless campaigner Christina Chalmers is overseeing the fund which will be used as a deposit on a flat and for a month’s rent for Michael, who is eligible for rent allowance.
But she said a blank has been drawn in a search for suitable accommodation.
“We are trying to find a landlord who will take rent allowance,” she said.
“Some of them are asking for outrageous rent of up to €1,000 for a one-room flat.
“Michael could go into a house share situation but, after a bad experience with that kind of accommodation, previously, he doesn’t want to go down that road again.
“He wants to be in control of the situation, and be in charge of his own destiny.”
Michael spent the first night after the arson attack sleeping on steps outside St Patrick’s Church in the city.
He spent another two nights sleeping on a chair in the recreation room area of Cork Simon’s at-capacity emergency shelter.
Ms Chalmers gave him a second tent during the week which he pitched on grass outside City Hall on Thursday night.
Michael said it was the only place in the city where he felt he would not get hassled overnight.
Ms Chalmers said Michael was very anxious and motivated to start a new life, and she was following up on two possible leads for flats for him last night.
“Someone out there, some landlord, has something suitable for him.
“I would appeal for them to come forward,” she said.
The mother-of-three began distributing sleeping bags to homeless people several months ago — and attracted a large team of volunteers.
They meet once a month at Daunt Square and distribute sleeping bags and toiletries to those sleeping rough who may not have been able to secure a bed at the various homeless shelters.
Ms Chalmers said her aim is to support the work of the existing homeless agencies, and to help those they don’t reach. She co-ordinates the volunteers and donations through her Facebook page — Please Join Me In Helping Cork’s Homeless — and is planning to expand the services soon.
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