A FATHER who walked 10km with his family for food has hit out at the government for failing to support thousands of homeless people across the country.
The Echo revealed recently that a Cork family were forced to walk 10km from Little Island to the Penny Dinners charity in the city with three children, including a young baby in a broken buggy.
The family turned to the charity for help after they were made homeless in recent months.
The father, Sean, said he felt like a “pure and utter failure” as he and his young family were forced to rely on Penny Dinners to survive.
“You try your best but sometimes your best just isn’t good enough,” he told PJ Coogan on Cork’s 96FM Opinion Line today.
Sean and his family were made homeless after they were evicted by their landlord who wanted to renovate the property they were staying in.
His partner was heavily pregnant at the time and has since given birth.
Sean explained they tried to find alternative accommodation but eventually had to present as homeless to the council services.
“You feel like a failure to your kids, your partner, your family and your friends - I wouldn’t wish that feeling on my worst enemy,” he said.
The family was provided with emergency hotel accommodation in the Cork region and was then moved to a guest house where they received no meals.
Sean’s partner was a mere four weeks away from her due date at the time and had to deal with three flights of stairs at the guesthouse.
Sean said they had no choice but to make the trek to Cork Penny Dinners to look for food.
He praised Catriona Twomey, who runs the charity, for her generosity, describing her as a “godsend”.
“She couldn’t do enough for us, she just went above and beyond in every aspect and I can’t thank her enough.
“If it wasn’t for Catriona telling us to keep going, I don’t know if we would have been able,” he added.
With encouragement from Ms Twomey, Sean regularly checked rental websites until he eventually found a house and landlord willing to take his family in.
After a nervy two week wait, Sean and his family were approved for the Housing Assistance Payment scheme.
They have now moved into a house where they hope to start afresh.
Sean said he hopes he never again has to experience the levels of depression and anxiety he has felt in recent months.
“It is a feeling I hope no one would have to go through in this life but unfortunately there are so many people going through it.”
He hit out at the lack of support from government, calling the system “inhumane”.
“They could house all the homeless in Ireland tomorrow if they really wanted to but they don’t want to,” said Sean.