When Ryan lost his mother at a young age, he entered the care system. As soon as he turned 18, Ryan became homeless.
From our decades of experience, we know that the longer a young person like Ryan is homeless, the more likely it is that he’ll stay homeless.
You’d instantly warm to Ryan. He’s a real chatterbox, and when he talks about how he’s trying to pull himself out of homelessness, he speaks with passion.
But when the subject turns to his childhood, you can see the pain in his deep brown eyes.
Ryan’s a middle child. He has a little brother and older sister. When their Mam died, they lost one another as well.
There is no safety net for teenagers leaving care. The day you turn 18 you’re an adult expected to be able to navigate complex processes like applying for state grants, housing, and college bursaries. It’s sink or swim.
And after all the trauma and challenges children like Ryan have faced alone, you can imagine how easy it is to sink.
There’s a feeling of — who would even care if I did?
“It still hurts. I’ll never understand why they split us up – me, my little brother, and my sister. We all had to deal with losing our Mam and then losing each other all by ourselves. It tore my family apart.”
Ryan is smart and driven and he’s determined to do everything he possibly can himself to escape a life on the street — searching for food and somewhere safe to sleep.
He found a second-hand suit to wear. Ryan says he wants to try to present himself in the very best way he can.
At house viewings, there’s a growing frustration.
“There might be 10, 15 people or more all in competition for the same place. You’re competing with professionals. You just feel so hopeless – rejection after rejection.”
And for every day… week… month… a young person like Ryan is homeless, the less likely he is to ever escape it.
It was only when he came to Depaul’s youth hostel, Peter’s Place, that things began to change for Ryan…
“It gave me stability and meant I could find myself a job”.
Now Ryan has just signed a long-term lease on a flat, and he’s over the moon. “It means I’ll never be homeless again,” says Ryan. “This is a gift. I will never ever go back to that life.”
Ryan has had to fight tooth and nail to find his way out of homelessness. But even so, he says he couldn’t have done it without the support of Peter’s Place.
“I look back on what I’ve been through to get to this moment and it just makes you appreciate what you have a billion times more, especially having a roof over your head,” says Ryan. “I’m so grateful. I just want to say thank you…”
To support other young people like Ryan, donate today