Homeless and deaf, Amy is longing for a 'forever home' 

Homeless and deaf, Amy is longing for a 'forever home' 

Amy-Lee Joyce: 'There is nowhere to rent and no sign of getting social housing.' Picture: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

Amy-Lee Joyce is deaf, and homeless. Here, she speaks about her experiences.

Amy-Lee Joyce: 'There is nowhere to rent and no sign of getting social housing.' Picture: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland
Amy-Lee Joyce: 'There is nowhere to rent and no sign of getting social housing.' Picture: Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland

"I’m 25 years old now, I've been homeless for three years. My story is similar of so many young people in homelessness, there was a relationship breakdown with my family and I have been on the social housing waiting list for three years now. I feel lost and trapped in homelessness and have no idea how much longer I will be here.

"It has been really stressful. I have stayed in five different hostels over the three years. In the early days, I saw a lot of drugs. A hostel is not a place for a young person and worst especially if you have additional needs like me. 

"Some of the hostels were shared bedrooms so I was woken up all the time with lights going on and off all night. At one point, I had enough so I slept on the streets, on a bench. It was so cold, only spent one night on the streets. 

"Luckily, I was able to find a better hostel. A lot of the hostels don’t have support services available, so I felt lost, especially not being able to communicate with people.

"I am in Peter’s Place [operated by DePaul] for one and a half years now, have my own bedroom, bathroom and kitchenette so there is more privacy here. Have a key worker as well, so they help me to try to find housing, employment and other stuff.

I struggle every day, everything is so much harder when you are deaf. 

"No one can sign so I can’t talk to people and over the years some of the people in the hostels would make fun of me because of my disability. 

"I haven’t made any friends in the places I have stayed so it has been really isolating. My hearing aid is broken at the minute, so I have to wait until the new year to get a new one.

"I don’t know anyone else in homelessness who is deaf. It would help if there were more supports for deaf people and if people were able to sign. Not sure what other solutions there are except build more social housing. I’m fed up by myself.

"It is really hard to communicate, people can’t understand me. It adds to my mental health struggles. I use my phone if I need to talk to staff. They are helpful but it's difficult. 

"A lot of the hostels don’t have extra supports so I felt stuck at times.

"I would like to say I’m hopeful I’ll be out of homelessness soon but there is nowhere to rent and no sign of getting social housing. I’m looking every day and have gone to a few viewings but there is a lot of competition and some of the places I’ve seen are not liveable in. 

One place I went to view recently where they were looking for €1,000 a month was an old bedsit which was falling apart.

"All I want is my forever home and to start a family with my boyfriend. In six months' time I don’t want to be in this situation. I study graphic design in college so I want to be a tattoo artist. I'm really creative."

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