A book which gives an insight into how some people who are homeless have coped during the pandemic is being launched today.

The book 'Scrappy but Happy' showcases art and poetry which clients from the Dublin Simon Community created throughout 2020. 

Ed Brennan is one of the poets featured in the book. He has been homeless for the last four years. He found the last year challenging. When restrictions first came into effect in March, he was sitting in the room of his hostel looking out the window:

"Slowly the world was sort of shutting down," he says, "the supports I used to go to were being closed."

Mr Brennan says he realised he was going to have to survive the pandemic basically in his room, as there was nowhere else to go.

Mr Brennan said he knew he could not just sit on his bed, so he utilised tools around him to cope. Activity packs supplied by Dublin Simon, with crosswords, Sudoku puzzles and mindfulness colouring sheets, helped to occupy him during the day. 

He also wrote poetry. In one poem, he describes how he coped during a particularly difficult day for him in the past few months.

Entitled 'May Day' it tracks a day during the pandemic. He remembers writing the piece: "It was a Sunday," he says. "I woke up and just felt that heaviness and weight inside me. I thought: this is going to be one of those days.

Mr Brennan said that it is not always that simple, and it does not always work, but "you've got to give it a go".

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Author Roddy Doyle has described the book as "thought-provoking, funny, distressing and brilliant".

Speaking at the virtual launch of the publication, he described it as "overwhelmingly beautiful".

Mr Doyle told those who had contributed to the book that the quality and power and almost physical punch in the work that they have written is just a joy.

He said a lot of the material that they write about is not joyful but the mere fact that we can all read and see it is a joyful thing.

Mr Doyle also commended the writers and artists on their courage in letting other people share their inner thoughts.

He said there are a lot of us who would never want our inner thoughts, feelings, vulnerabilities and mistakes to be seen in public on paper.

Client Development Manager with Dublin Simon Community, Sharon Keogh said the exhibition and the book associated with it celebrates people's creativity and resilience.

She said hat there are a number of pieces which reflect life in the pandemic.

Ms Keogh also said that the pandemic presented its own challenges in producing the book, with workshops cancelled because of Covid-19 restrictions.

She said the book, which is now in its tenth year, is inspiring and a celebration of talent and creativity.