A 19-year-old student recently spoke of his lived experience with homelessness and how it has impacted his ability to study, The College Tribune has learned. The second-year English Literature student, spoke to broadcaster Joe Duffy about the issue, under the pseudonym of Aaron, announcing that he uses a Wetherspoons pub as a study space as a result of homelessness.
Aaron’s days are spent studying either in his college’s library or in a Wetherspoons pub. “I just buy a coffee, sign on to my lectures and stay there for the day,” he said. He accepted that the situation is “scary enough” but pointed out that he has nowhere else to do his lectures.
In speaking about his experience, Aaron told Joe that he has been homeless since August for “personal reasons”, and that he currently resides in emergency accommodation. The 19-year-old said the situation makes him fear for his safety, which has had a detrimental impact on his mental health:
“It’s a really tough situation. You struggle to sleep when you’re there because people are doing room checks every two to three hours. I just want a bit of security. It’s terrifying in these hostels — you’re always looking over your shoulder. I’m working and in college, but it’s still really difficult to navigate the circumstances that I’m in.”
Despite being in receipt of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Aaron is struggling to find a landlord who will accept it: “The one thing I’ve kind of found is that (landlords) have a kind of hesitancy to start HAP tenancies. It’s a bit weird since it’s guaranteed rent.”
His situation is not unique. Aaron spoke to Joe Duffy in order to highlight that anyone can find themselves homeless: “It just goes to show that you can’t believe the stereotypes (of homeless people). Anyone can get into this situation… I’m doing all that I can to get out of it.”
Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor