Homeless kids share what life was like in lockdown in new book

by Rachel Darcy

A book written and illustrated by children who are without a permanent home during the pandemic was launched last week.

In ‘Homeless Stories,’ children aged 5-13 shared their personal accounts of life in emergency accommodation and direct provision during the Covid-19 crisis.

All proceeds from the sale of the book, published by Irish company Emu Ink, will go to Depaul’s Families and Young People’s support services.

Ten-year-old Kasey illustrated the book’s cover and wrote about her experience of living in emergency accommodation with her mam and little sister.

After two-and-a-half years living in a hotel room, they are finally getting ready to move into their own home any day now.

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.”

Founder of Emu Ink, Emer Cleary, first read Kasey’s story when she responded to the call to children to get writing during lockdown.

Emer 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.

“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.”

Depaul is supporting over 600 children during the pandemic. Now 20 of them have become published authors.

Homeless Stories is on sale for €12 at: www.emucourses.ie

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