Dublin children share what lockdown is like without a home in ‘Homeless Stories’

A beautiful new book, written and illustrated by children who are experiencing homelessness in Dublin and across Ireland during the current pandemic, was launched today at the end of November by Irish publishing company Emu Ink.

In ‘Homeless Stories,’ children, aged 5-13, have shared moving accounts of life in emergency accommodation and direct provision during the Covid crisis. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Depaul’s Families and Young People’s support services.
Depaul provides vital accommodation and community supports for vulnerable families in Dublin and across Ireland who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.
One such recipient of that support is ten-year-old Kasey, who illustrated the book’s front and back cover, and wrote about her experience of living in emergency accommodation with her mam and little sister during the Covid-19 lockdown. After two-and-a-half years living in a hotel room, they are finally getting ready to move into their own home but are waiting on a move-in date.
Speaking about why she wanted to share her story, Kasey said, “We moved into the hotel when I was seven and we didn’t know how long we would be here. I’ve had three birthdays and two Christmases living in the hotel now but this Christmas could be our first in a new home.
“I wanted to tell my story because if there’s another family who move into our hotel room when we finally get to move out, I wanted them to know that they’re not alone and even if it feels scary or sad to begin with, it won’t be forever. My family’s story in this book has a happy ending and I hope everyone who shared their story and any other family who share our story, will find a happy ending and a home too.
Emer Cleary, Founder and CEO of Emu Ink said: “It felt important to give children like Kasey a voice this year because families like hers have had a very different experience to the rest of us. I’m sure many of us are growing tired of staying at home but for these children, a home to stay in is all they want – a front door, a back garden to play in, a kitchen to bake in like their friends.
“At Emu Ink, we’re firm believers in giving children the opportunity and the tools to tell their own stories in their own words. By becoming published authors, children can learn that their stories are important, their words are impactful and they don’t have to wait until they grow up to be heard.
“For the children in this book, they are waiting for so much that the rest of us probably take for granted. We’re delighted to give them this opportunity now, and to be able to donate all the proceeds from the sale of the book to Depaul’s Families and Young People’s support services.”
David Carroll, CEO of Depaul said: “As one of the largest homeless charities on the island of Ireland, Depaul have been supporting over 600 children during the pandemic. To have 20 of those children become published authors thanks to Emu Ink, that feels like an enormous positive we can take from this difficult year.
“It is a moving and poignant read but it is also filled with hope that one day they will have a safe place to call home, because for families living in emergency accommodation and direct provision they are going through very difficult times and the pandemic has only added to this.
“We are so grateful to all the children who generously shared their stories, and to Emu Ink for publishing ‘Homeless Stories’ and coordinating the project. The proceeds from the sale of the book will help Depaul support families and young people at a difficult time in their lives.”
Every child who wrote a story or illustrated a piece for the book will receive a special goody bag from Emu Ink, with treats from Starbucks and  The Irish Fairy Door Company, who generously supported the project.
Starbucks has provided treats and vouchers for family days out. In addition to Emu Ink’s investment in the project, Starbucks has also funded the printing of the book to allow all proceeds to go to Depaul.
The Irish Fair Door Company has donated a ‘No More Worries Kit’, to help ease anxieties, and a fairy door to every child, so they might feel less alone in their temporary home and take the fairy with them when they leave.
Homeless Stories is on sale for €12 at: www.emucourses.ie