A young woman has spoken movingly about the reality of living in homelessness.

'Amanda', who is a fifth year secondary school student, spoke about feeling as if she has "no life left" and that her life has been stolen from her.

She has spent the past two years living in a hotel room with her mother 'Teresa', her brother and older sister, who returns to the family from college at weekends.

'Amanda' and 'Teresa' are not their real names. The family do not wish their identity to be widely known.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Amanda said she was too afraid to tell classmates at her school about her homelessness.

"You want to voice what's actually going on, the truth with everything, but you are sometimes afraid, and your voice is gone."

She said that in school she had sat in tears that she could not hide as "a couple of lads started shouting 'oh yeah you're living the high life if you're homeless. You're living in a high-class hotel, you can just sit around doing nothing, waiting for a house that's paid for you'".

With her mother present, the 18-year-old cried as she said: "It’s not the high life. You're living with the stench of people cooking food in rooms that are rotting away with mould.

"These are the years that I'm supposed to be focusing on getting a decent education, making friends, going out and living my life, but I can't even do normal things like open a bank account, because I don't have an address. I don't have anything that helps me in life."

She also spoke about how she felt she could not tell friends the truth about her life because it was too embarrassing.


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She was afraid that while some friends might accept her homelessness, "others might say 'how are you homeless? Is your Mum scheming the country? Are you a beggar?', and you're just really scared".

Amanda said she had opened up to some friends in a former school, who she has known for many years. She said they were open and helpful to her.

But she said she had only told one person and one teacher in a new school she is now attending. She said other students she had met seemed to "have such decent lives" that she was scared in case they told their parents and their parents might "look down" on her as a result.

Amanda says she dreams of becoming a counsellor or teacher so that she can help children overcome their challenges. She said after her experience she would hate to see any child alone.

She wants to study psychology at college when she finishes school, but she worries that her homelessness will prevent her from reaching college.

Amanda is repeating fifth year, as an indirect result of her homelessness.

"Time is already flying by, next thing I know it will be my Leaving Cert," she said.

Speaking through tears, Amanda said: "If I have to do my Leaving Cert here I know there will be no chance of me going to college."

She said she would not manage to study for her Leaving Cert in the hotel and she expressed grave concern about her mental health, which she said was "deteriorating for everyone".

"It’s really diminishing and degrading having to wake up and look at the dirt, the mould. It’s a struggle everyday getting up and even just taking the blankets off yourself every morning. It’s horrible.

"People need to know that it is deadly to live like this. You feel like you have no life left, living in here with no security, you just think 'what's the point?' you really do".

Amanda was strongly critical of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy "and everyone else sitting in that Dáil".

She said they were supposed to do their jobs "and they won't do it".

"It’s their job to care, and if they don't they shouldn't have the job. Give the job to someone else that actually cares."

As well as receiving support from her mother, Amanda is also receiving counselling, which she says is helping her to cope.

The family lost their home after Amanda's mother 'Teresa' was unable to keep up with mortgage payments following a marriage breakdown.

The family live in a hotel room on a corridor full of homeless families.

Children - some in school uniforms and one in a nappy – were seen sitting on the floor of the hotel corridor. They were eating their dinner from fast food containers, which they had laid out on the ground.

Teresa says that this is an everyday sight at the hotel, as mothers try to feed their children on their return from school. The children have no other area to gather in apart from the corridor.

The hotel rooms have no tables and the hotel itself is surrounded by car parks, and beyond them, busy roads and roundabouts. There is no playground.

RTÉ News first spoke to the family, who are on a Dublin City Council housing list, last year.

Listen to the full interview here