Terrifying. Horrific. Dehumanising. These are the words Martin uses when he describes his years as a homeless man. But after almost a decade of despair and too many freezing cold sleepless nights to count, Martin is home at last thanks to your kindness.
Is there a moment that a person becomes ‘homeless’? For Martin, there was… And even though he could see that moment coming down the tracks, closer and closer every day, he couldn’t seem to stop it. “The landlord said he needed the place back, and that’s where it all started. Within two months, I was homeless.”
Martin is a smiley man, but when he talks about his time on the streets — nine years of misery all told — his expression falls, and the colour drains from his face.
“I remember that first night I slept on the street. I was terrified, absolutely terrified. I’m getting upset now even just thinking about it…”
When you’re homeless, the Irish winter is a war… a struggle to survive. Martin says that on the coldest days, he used to get on the bus just to stay warm. He’d wander around all night sometimes, too scared to sleep. You can imagine the psychological and physical toll it would take on you.
Too worried to fall asleep in case you don’t open your eyes again in the morning. It’s a torture Martin knows all too well. There were times, Martin says, that he felt suicidal…
“I tried to take my life twice when I was on the streets. I can’t lie to you, there’s no point in lying about it. That’s what it does to you.”
When Martin turned to Depaul, he was frozen to the bone and at rock bottom. But with Depaul’s support, he found the strength to go on, and to find hope again.
Martin is forever grateful to Depaul supporters for believing in him, even when he didn’t believe in himself…
“I had a horrible life until you guys stepped in. Depaul has changed my life. It’s changed my family. It’s changed everything. Without your help, I don’t know if I’d even be alive. That’s not being dramatic, it’s true!”
At Depaul people like Martin receive not only the relief of a warm bed, clean clothes, and a belly full of food. But here there’s restored dignity, faith in humanity, and hope that faded long ago.
It’s been a long and winding road home, but Martin now holds the keys to his very own front door in his hands.
“If it wasn’t for caring people who support Depaul, I don’t know if I would have made it another year homeless… I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Depaul changed my life.”
“You wouldn’t believe how incredible it feels to have front door keys,” says Martin. “I haven’t had keys for 9 years. It took me a few weeks to settle in. But now I love it. I can cook my own food, I have my own bed, and I don’t wake up in fear anymore! I really thank you… I really, really do, from the bottom of my heart.”
To support other people like Martin, donate today