Dublin housing stories: A portrait of the people

Images courtesy of Dublin Housing Stories creator.

By Geneva Pattisson

The number of homeless people in Ireland stands at around 10,448 as calculated by Focus Ireland, during the week of the 18th to the 24th of November 2019.

Daft.ie released a report the same month, stating that the highest average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment, can be found in Dublin 4 at €1,966. It is evident now, more than ever that the shape of homelessness is always changing in Ireland. However, with so many varying experiences and increasing numbers, how can all the voices of the people affected be heard?

A new online art project called ‘Dublin Housing Stories’, seeks to remedy this. The project is intended to shine a light on the individual accounts from people experiencing homelessness in its many forms, through art and storytelling.

Submissions remain anonymous, and are comprised of stories about families being housed in hotels, adults moving back home with their parents, people being priced out by landlords and tales of reluctant emigration due to financial necessity.

The online platform also hopes to bring attention to the knock-on effects of ever-increasing and competitive rents, and the difficult living conditions some people have to put up with while living in Dublin.

NewsFour got in touch with the creator of Dublin Housing Stories, to discuss the project itself, their goals for the project and their own personal experience with the housing market.  

Q:We are all aware that  Ireland is currently in a severe housing crisis, but was there one specific occurrence or experience that gave you the inspiration to start this art project?

A: “I have always moved around and I come from a family who has always rented, so I have always been very aware of how difficult it is to find somewhere to live, particularly in Dublin. 

I noticed that it became increasingly harder, not only for me but for my family too, to find accommodation. When I returned from a year abroad in the UK, I began to see how much worse things had become. I live in the city centre, and the numbers of homeless people out here on the streets, every night, is just unbelievable. 

Currently, I’m paying over €1,000 for a bedroom in a shared house with my partner, and I realised that many of my friends were in similar situations. Although I could have it a lot worse, I don’t think it’s ideal for anyone, as it’s very hard to save. 

I wanted to open up a dialogue about this and hear from people. Normalising the situation is something I wanted to be careful not to do, but I did want to show people how common these stories of extortionate rents and competitive viewings for sub-par accommodation are, so that people don’t feel alone in the struggle. I wanted to draw quotes over images of the city, and show that although Dublin is beautiful, it is also very hard to live in, at the moment.” 

Q: Have you considered expanding this project further and showcasing it using other mediums or through other channels? 

A: “I would love to spread the message out and publish the pictures in a book or to put them around town for passersby to see. Likewise, I would also love to turn them into a large scale art piece and hang it somewhere and maybe exhibit some of these stories. 

Really, I just want people to see what is happening, so that people who may not be aware of the severity can hear stories from people, and that people struggling can relate and feel acknowledged.”

Q: What are your main goals for this project? 

A: “I would love for this project to bring awareness to the housing crisis. There are a lot of people raising awareness, and I want to be one of the voices in the discussion. The situation here isn’t ok and I would love people to bear this in mind when they vote on February 8th. 

I feel devastated when I see homeless deaths, people on HAP having awful difficulty securing homes, landlords raising prices and adding other costs to rent that is already sky-high … we need to give people safe places to live and to really look at the results of the way things are being done at the moment. 

The young generation are frustrated as the yardstick for adulthood is ‘get a mortgage’, ‘move out’ and ‘save money’ but a lot of young people simply cannot save, because they are paying rent and are finding it incredibly difficult to secure property.

Many don’t know if they will be able to afford children, pets or a car. The lion’s share of their income will be to pay their landlord. The yardstick is not the same now and a lot of people feel that they have been forced to live at home until their thirties, in some cases, if they want to save for a house. There are many who don’t have the option of living at home.”

Q: What are your future hopes for the people living in emergency accommodation? 

A: “Families are in hotels and hubs and the effects of this are devastating. Stories have come in from people who have been moving from hotels to hubs because nowhere will take them. They are angry, let down and feel that they don’t have a voice.

I hope that we can begin to share these stories and make a change here. Ireland is beautiful, but it truly is the people that make it beautiful, and we need to make sure everyone has the dignity of having their own space, without crippling themselves financially. 

I really believe that change is coming. In the meantime, we need to keep sharing our stories and let it be known that we need change, urgently.”

To view more public submissions to Dublin Housing Stories or to make an anonymous submission, visit their instagram profile below. 


Homeless figures were collected from the Focus Ireland website below. 

Rental figures are available from the Daft.ie Q3 report for 2019. 


The National Housing Coalition and other vital organisations can be found on Twitter and Facebook to support, get information and get active in campaigns with.