Our Impact

What do the people we support say about our work?

Returning to Ireland after living abroad can be challenging, particularly if the decision to come home is triggered by a crisis. It can take some time to reach a place of stability. The support we offer varies from person to person, depending on their their level of need and the type of assistance they request. Our goal is to provide people with the information they need to navigate their return to Ireland, to advocate for them, and to support them through the first stages of settling back home.

Roger Warde returned to Ireland at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and got in touch with us as he needed support securing accommodation. 

My name is Roger. I moved to Holland in March 2019 to take up a job working in the pharmaceutical industry. However to frame my story, I must confess that I have battled for years with alcoholism and depression.

Roger Warde worked with Crosscare while returning to Ireland

My move to Holland was to be a fresh start.

The company in Holland gave me a car, an apartment and a very good salary. I was very fortunate. Things were good for 6 months or so but then the isolation and stress from work started to affect me. I began not to take care of myself physically, mentally or spiritually. I began to drink again and miss meetings at work. My behaviour deteriorated drastically and this resulted in me being hospitalised for 2 months in a psychiatric unit. After I was released I had nowhere to live so took to the streets sleeping on the canal and drinking until my money ran out. As I had not been in Holland long enough I couldn’t get any financial aid from the government. Also, I was too proud and arrogant to ask my family or any Irish community for help.

During my homelessness my only source of food was from a charity who supplied coffee and sandwiches twice a day but not at the weekends so they were hungry days. I went to a local homeless organisation in the city I was staying in however they couldn’t offer me any help as I wasn’t Dutch. The kind security guard on the door of the hostel phoned the local church and they found me a place to stay in Rotterdam (a refugee centre) and once I arrived they contacted Ireland on my behalf.

From there on in I felt safe, Annette from Barka (another charity) found and paid for all transport from Holland to Ireland. Due to the pandemic I had to enter an isolation centre in Dublin for 2 weeks. Again this was coordinated by Crosscare and the local Cappuchin Brothers Charity. During my isolation period Eleanor from Crosscare liaised with the appropriate County Council and homeless services, provided direction on which forms I needed to complete and followed up with me on any stumbling blocks. And once I arrived in Ireland there were indeed many stumbling blocks.

I thought that the hardest part would have been trying to get home. Sadly it was not. I cannot generalise but only share my own experiences. Sometimes my interactions left me with a feeling of being a second class citizen. On several occasions during homelessness I questioned my self-worth and self-respect. This had sadly resulted in a worsening of my mental health during these times. However, I would also like to add (for a balanced perspective) the kindness I received from individuals within the services and charities while homeless. Lastly, I need to categorically state that without the intervention of Crosscare (in most probability) I would have ended up as another suicide statistic. I truly owe my life to Crosscare and BARKA.

Roger Warde celebrating the news that he had been offered his own home

As I finish writing this I have been informed I have been allocated a social housing unit. I am truly speechless. Working with and gaining support from my keyworker and the doctor and nurse at COPE Galway, and Trish my addiction counsellor from the Galway Simon Community, we achieved this amazing feat. Due to my addiction and state of mind I was not the most flexible person but my keyworker and counsellor persevered, praise the Lord.

What I have learnt from my experiences is that addiction and homelessness/mental health issues can affect anyone, and we should remember as a society not to stereotype. That being said, the current system and regime is sadly not fit for purpose and one size does not fit all clients. The opinions and experiences of those within the system (both clients and providers) must be really utilised to obtain the “100 year fix” to this problem. However this is neither the time nor the forum for further discussions on this.

What the future holds is uncertain but at least now I can see a future, praise the Lord.