How it is like to live on the streets? What does a homeless person do all day? How do they survive?
Belfast And Lisburn Community Project looks into the life of Laura’s true story and how she ended up on the street of Belfast. The largest group of homeless women is between the ages of 20 and 34, and family violence is most often the cause.
Homelessness is not a choice, but rather a journey that many find themselves in.
The video is a story from one of our friend on the streets when one of our outreach worker was walking around downtown in Belfast’s freezing cold weather. He was shocked not just to see a lot of homelessness, but that homeless people were literally sleeping on cardboard and then covering themselves with tarps.
Laura has slept outside homeless for over six months. She has been on a housing list for even longer.
Laura was in an abusive relationship for 2 years after she left the foster’s home. The last time the domestic violence was so bad Laura was hospitalised. Upon release, Laura went home, grabbed her dog, and has been homeless sleeping rough in Central Belfast ever since.
Sadly, although Laura is not at risk of further abuse from her partner, she is still sleeping rough. Rough sleepers face all kinds of danger every day, and it’s especially hard for young women sleeping rough.
Laura’s dog is her life. Laura says she would never be able to survive homelessness if it wasn’t for her dog. Sadly, the Belfast hostels do not allow pets.
While having a chat with Laura, a woman came up to her, scolding her for having a dog outside. The woman was obviously more concerned about the animal’s well-being than Laura being homeless. We love animals, but we don’t think we will ever understand how some people care more for pets than humans. And if you’re one of the people who care more for a dog than a homeless person, then let’s get both inside. Housing ends homelessness for both people and their pets.
Laura survives by food and soup and food bank runs in Belfast. She says some regulars come and bring her blankets and dog food. There’s lots of controversy over public feedings. Many homeless service providers are against homeless people getting food and sleeping bags, saying the charity enables them to be homeless, but the real truth is people need to survive. Since there are not enough shelter beds, housing, or support services, we cannot just leave people to die outside in the cold.
Laura was able to get a temporary accommodation of one bedroom by the help of this charity until she is able to get a permanent house from the Housing Executive. Laura is now working as a sales assistant at a local grocery store to support her new found home and her pet.
There are many ways you can help us support the homeless community, they are people just like you and us.
For support and donations
Belfast And Lisburn Community Project
27 Holywood Road