Hidden Homelessness: Meet John


John and his two children Aoife (12) and Cian (7), became homeless after John’s relationship with his partner broke down. John temporarily moved his family into his sister’s house while he looked for alternative accommodation. They have been living there for nine months now.

At first it was a novelty, John found his sister to be a great support and his kids loved living with their cousins. But as the months went by, the novelty wore off. The family are all living in one bedroom and they are struggling with the lack of space. Aoife and Cian share a single bed and John sleeps on a camp bed next to them. Most of the family’s possessions had to be left behind when they left their old home and the children are really missing their personal things.

John has found it very difficult to maintain normal routines. The house is busy and with both children in one room it’s very hard to get Cian to bed at an early hour. As a result, Cian is often tired during the week and his school work is suffering. Aoife recently turned 12 - an age where she really needs an occasional bit of privacy, but this is impossible in the current set-up.

Although his sister would never leave John and his family without a place to stay, John feels that he’s over-staying his welcome. His sister recently announced that she’s pregnant and John knows that she will soon need the spare bedroom back for her own family.

With all the pressure and stress he’s been experiencing, John has been finding it more and more difficult to keep his patience with his children. Aoife and Cian are stressed and tired themselves, as a result they act out a lot. John has been really struggling to manage their behaviour.

Barnardos has been working with John to support his parenting, giving him tools to deal with his own stress and also manage his children’s behaviour. Cian also attends a Barnardos Friendship Group to help improve his social skills and emotional development.

John desperately continues to search for a suitable home for his family.