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Giving Voice: Homelessness due to housing crisis

Fact: In Ireland, the number of families made newly homeless rose from 39 in January 2017 to 113 in August. A total of 1,698 families are now estimated to be living in emergency accommodation across the country, the vast majority of which were either evicted by private landlords or were unable to afford a rent rise.

Released in October of 2018, the film Rosie “tells the story of a young couple and their four children forced out of their home when their landlord decides to sell the property. Over 36 hours, we see Rosie glued to her phone, juggling normal family life while trying to find a room to sleep in.”
Based upon real life accounts, Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter Roddy Doyle put pen to paper giving voice to the increasing number of everyday lower/middle class families being squeezed out of their rental homes into homelessness.

“The potency of the film lies in showing us that the “homeless” are not a caste or tribe whose condition has been ordained at birth, and their situation is not a cosmic punishment for laziness – they are people like everyone else whose situation has been created by economic forces.” From review by Peter Bradshaw


  1. Marie Bailey

    Thanks for sharing this, Laura. We have homelessness and we have people with more home than they need. I think it’s the widening of the gap between the haves and the have-nots that make it so difficult for those who have a home to understand the plight of those don’t … especially those who have a mansion or several homes.As my husband and I get older and our income shrinks, we often expressed gratitude that at least we own our home. Food and shelter are fundamental needs and no person can properly function without them. In Florida, under the former governor, a trust fund for low-income housing was raided every year to pay for projects other than low-income housing. It remains to be seen what happens this year.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I call those who don’t understand as the ‘untouched’ (by life’s inequities) and those who do as the ‘touched’ (whether by experience or compassion).
      Florida of all places should understand the need for a home for all is basic to sustainable lives. Always a state with large populations of retired, working stiffs and those trying to make a better life in the mythic Amerika.
      Sounds like you and your husband are successfully navigating the realities of fixed income issues. But I understand the nervousness in entering each day with uncertainty as to the future in all of that especially as we age.

  2. Deborah Brasket

    Such an important topic. It’s shameful that we don’t provide enough affordable housing for people like that, or transitional housing for people who suffer from addiction or mental health problems. This looks like a powerful film. I hope it will help.

  3. Mary J Puckett

    Your post made me wonder if other countries are doing any better, so I researched homelessness in Denmark, which certainly has a reputation for having more of a social safety net. Plenty of homelessness there, too, which raises a lot of questions. No easy answers.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Too true. 🙁

  4. Jane Chesebrough

    The part that grabbed me was when the kids ran back to their old home, but she had to remind them that “we don’t live here anymore.” It was only stuff but it was the memories attached to that stuff that I still miss 2 years later. for example, the side table a friend made for me and the nicer quality bookshelf that I bought with my Mom’s inheritance. looks like an excellent movie but it does reflect a heart-breaking reality that happens too often, with devastating effects. I just had my self to take care of, but a family-oh my god. The positive note I see overwhelmingly, is the love that binds them together.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You and I share this common bond…it still pierces deep – doesn’t it?

  5. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! Wow, what a powerful trailer. I’d like to see the how film. It brings tears to my eyes. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, it touches deep. It puts an incomprehensible experience into an easier to understand format to gently expose those unaware of the realities of many ‘everyday people’ around us.

  6. Marty

    Thanks so much for sharing about this film. I was unaware of it, and I definitely want to see it.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You bet, Marty!

  7. Brigid Gallagher

    Thank you Laura. I will look out for this film. It is a terrible tragedy that so many people are in this situation here in Ireland and elsewhere.

    • laura bruno lilly

      For someone in the States, it was at both one and the same time disheartening and encouraging finding this film which shows this tragedy occurring in places other than one’s own country. 🙁

  8. Ally Bean

    Homelessness is a frightening thing to contemplate. I wonder if we all live in denial about how quickly our lives could be turned upside down by circumstances beyond our control? Such a sad, but good, thing to think about & ynderstand. Thanks for the heads up about this film.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Most don’t realize how thin a line it is that separates us from ‘normal’ life to survival life.
      Thank you for your sensitivity in this aspect, Ally.

  9. Andy

    I’ve not heard of this film before. The trailer reminded me a little of I, Daniel Blake, which was a good indictment of this government’s policy over here, (link below)
    Homelessness is a huge problem in Manchester now. A lot of the agencies who used to help lost government funding, and the charities have advised us not to give to those begging on the streets as it just goes towards their substance addictions, but rather to give to the charities instead.
    I don’t know what the answer is, but there are more on the streets now than ever before.

    • laura bruno lilly

      That’s just it…’there’s more on the streets now than ever before’. During our between homes times, we were the anomaly – at the forefront of the ‘normal’ middle class decline due to the economic recession in the USA. Busting the stereotypes of the ‘whys’ of homelessness. But now, it’s all too common across the spectrum of the total population. Seemingly to not touch only those with extreme wealth. Even with it being discussed more freely, doesn’t seem to offer any more solutions.
      When I was researching the Irish roots of this film and data, I did come across the Manchester stats as well. More of an awful place to have to live ‘rough’ (as you say over there, I think).
      sigh – I love Manchester, too!

  10. Anne

    That last comment in the trailer ~ “We’re not homeless, we’re just lost” ~ was heartbreaking. A film to watch. Thank you.

    • laura bruno lilly

      That singular bit got me as well…still haunts me.

  11. Anne Copeland

    This bothers me so much, Laura. It is so truly sad to see it happening everywhere. And we have it in Southern California very bad where I live. What is horrific in my area is that they put these people on buses and ship them to places like Palm Springs, where it gets well over 100 degrees in the summertime. Many of these folks, as is the case with the ones in your country, are decent people who are barely or not able to keep up with the economy now, and my husband and I struggle a lot. Our gas has gone up around 5 cents or more every single day of late, all for taxation, likely to pay for something we don’t need, but at the same time, the counties and cities are not helping people, and many of these folks have children too. It is one of the saddest things in our times I believe and totally disgusting. We are all going backwards instead of making progress, and at the expense of our own citizens. It is so difficult for young people to get jobs to where they can support themselves, and unfortunately that is pushing a lot more of them into crimes. Society needs to turn itself around and take care of those who are having to do without basic things they need for themselves and their children. This has to leave horrible scars on children who are going through such things.
    I remember when I was working in the school system as a substitute aide and teacher, I used to bring food to school for my older children in our study hall. Many of them were falling asleep in class, could not concentrate, etc. With food I got for them every day so I could make sure they got some breakfast, even if it was sandwiches, etc., the children did well and their moods changed tremendously. I was amazed at how well they all shared, and those who had money, put a bit into the kitty to help buy more fruits, cheese, lunch meat, bread, water, and spread for the bread. No one made fun of anyone else, and the rule was that you could keep eating until you had enough. No one took too much – most of the boys esp. would take two sandwiches, but I figured these were growing boys, and they needed it. One boy told me confidentially that he and his family were staying in a furniture store at night, sleeping on the floors because his dad did not have a job now. So even if it cost all that I made, I would have made sure my children had food every day to help them along. Very sad, and I so wish people would have enough room in their hearts to help others who are less fortunate. Thank you so much for writing this article. You are such a great person.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh my Lord, shipped to Palm Springs? Shameful…
      Sadly, I’m not surprised of your encounters as a teacher. I applaud your practical ‘helps’ given in a very natural manner to help others in such compromising circumstances.
      Compassion is way underrated – we do what we can even though it may seem like not much…it all counts.
      You made a difference in the lives of your students, make no mistake.
      BTW: I’m American. I stumbled across this film and wanted to present it to show this is a growing concern that is occurring to everyday people in places other than the USA, too.

  12. Catherine de Seton

    everywhere there seems to be a housing crisis – either from the point of view of not being able to afford what is available through to there isn’t enough housing to start with or that fits my/our needs…
    even when I was travelling in the South Island, often in quite small towns – there was this constant notion of not enough housing with people living hand to mouth…which seemed odd, as there didn’t seem to be anyone in the position or on the surface of things.
    often when homelessness is a fact, the whole of society looks downtrodden with few businesses in the main street and definitely not the utter ridiculous amount of eateries I often came across…

    • laura bruno lilly

      I wish your statement, ‘often when homelessness is a fact…’ wasn’t true.
      Thank you for your comment, Catherine.

  13. L. Marie

    Looks like a very powerful film and a sadly common occurrence these days.

    • laura bruno lilly

      While becoming more discussed & out in the open, strong stereotypical responses towards those currently going through such a time of ‘displacement’ still persist.

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