A CORK mum living in a family hub in Cork City for the past year says she feels like a prisoner who has done nothing wrong.
Erin Phelan’s youngest child, a boy, has been homeless since he was three months old, and her four-year-old daughter cries herself to sleep every night because she cannot have playdates or sleepovers with her friends.
Erin, originally from Gurranabraher, and her two children became homeless when the home they were renting was put up for sale.
After living in hotels for three months, they were moved to the family hub run by the Good Shepherd Cork Services on Western Rd.
She said she had believed the family would be housed after six to 12 weeks after moving into the hub. However, they have remained there for the past year.
She said: “Being a mother, this is heartwrenching, watching your children go through this and have no control over it, having to listen to my four-year-old cry each night, saying ‘why do we have to stay here mammy?’.”
She added: “You feel like you’re a prisoner and being punished when you haven’t done anything wrong.”
She said she questions if she is a bad mother because of the situation she and her children have found themselves in. She works in McDonald’s and says that things like childcare while she works is difficult to organise.
Erin said: “What should have been the happiest year because my son was born turned out to be one of the worst of my life. My son has been homeless since he was three months old.”
She said that while he is too young to understand, her daughter is devastated that she cannot have friends over for sleepovers.
There are currently 18 families living in the hub.
Erin said the staff at the facility are fantastic. But she said she and her two children have to keep all their belongings in the room they all share. The top bunk of a bed in their room acts as a storage area for clothes, toys, and nappies.
Her daughter will be starting school in Churchfield in September and Erin said she also has concerns about how she will manage to get her to the school from Western Road.