Focus Ireland – Kelly

“I was taken away from my biological parents because of my suspicious injuries. My legs were broken in different places, and the doctor stated that the injuries were healing from two different incidents, most likely due to physical abuse. I was taken into foster care when I was four months old. My childhood was consumed by a dark hole; something was always missing. I always longed for a family, even without knowing what it actually meant. Growing up, I often felt lost and lonely. I didn’t understand where I was, who I was, or where I belonged in life. I used to go out of my foster house and walk around the neighbourhood to look into houses and see people and families. If they had kids, I’d knock on the door and ask if I could play. I was still just a child, but being a parent now, my heart wrenches for me. I was always searching. It wasn’t conscious, but I know now that I was looking for love, home, and belonging. In my foster family, my dad had a nervous breakdown, and he was an abusive man. I witnessed a lot of physical abuse and trauma growing up. All of that made me even more problematic in school, and I ended up pregnant at the age of 16. I had to leave my foster family, and I ended up in a homeless hostel run by nuns while pregnant. After I gave birth, I had to leave the hostel each morning and walk the streets all day as a teenager with my new-born.”

Unfortunately, I have attracted a lot of unhealthy situations and abusive relationships throughout my life as I wanted to help people and didn’t want anyone to ever feel as alone and hurt as I felt. I have to remind myself that those people are not me, and it’s not my job to help them. I lost one of my twins to cot death, and at the time, I was in a highly abusive relationship. My ex-partner threatened the landlord, and we ended up being evicted as a grieving mother with three young children. We ended up in emergency accommodation and later placed in a domestic abuse refuge. Now, I am in a long-term Focus Housing property supported by a Housing Support Worker. I used to have a lot of panic attacks, but doing a lot of therapy and working through my PTSD helped a lot. I also began to study psychology to understand why my life turned out the way it did. You know, growing up, I always blamed myself. My head was such an uncomfortable place. When those negative voices come to my head, I always try to think back to that little girl who was just desperate to be loved. Only through therapy and studying psychology, I learned how to love myself, and I now know and accept that whatever happened to me wasn’t my fault.”

In March 2023, emergency accommodation housed 3,472 children, marking a shocking increase of 662 children since last year—an equivalent of 28 classrooms of national schoolchildren (and their families) becoming homeless. Focus Ireland’s campaign seeks to prioritize the ‘best interests of the child’ during the housing crisis, emphasizing the need for increased direction, training, and support for Local Authority staff. They urge people to sign an online petition at and encourage TDs to support the reintroduced Bill.