Personal Stories

Read and hear the stories of people who have been homeless and went through our services. These are real people who have been supported or are currently being supported by Peter McVerry Trust.

Cian’s Story

“As a child I was told that I had ADHD, which meant that none of the schools in the area I lived would have me.”

I come from a loving family. As a child I was told that I had ADHD, which meant that none of the schools in the area I lived would have me. As a result, I was sent to an industrial school and after that experience, I became an angry teenager, getting involved in drugs, prison, homelessness – you know how it goes. Then in the middle somewhere I was referred to the Peter McVerry Trust – and that was the turning point.

I was referred to a place called Berkeley Street, which is a day service, for their Stabilisation Programme. I remember walking in the door and meeting the staff, they made me feel at home straight away. I was made to feel that I deserved to be there and that I was worth it. They helped me face up to my behaviour in the group-work we did there and to deal with my addiction.

They also put me in one of their houses for residential care. I moved in four months ago. The staff are lovely people. They take the time to listen to you. I have had tough times over the past few months and will have in the weeks ahead, but if it wasn’t for the Peter McVerry Trust and the work they do to make you feel accepted and that you are worth it, I would be back on the streets. I owe them a lot. They have moved mountains for me and all they ask is that I be true to myself and stay clean.

I hope one day I can give back to them what they have done for me. I am in college studying to be a personal fitness trainer. Next year I am starting a course in Addiction Studies and I hope someday to work in the Trust, and help other lads. I would like to thank everyone in Peter McVerry Trust for helping me to be the person I am today.


“I have been in and out of prison since I was 15 years old”

I’ve known Fr Peter McVerry for more than 10 years now and initially met him when I was in prison. He used to visit regularly and always had time to talk. When I went through a period of not wanting to leave my cell he encouraged me to go to mass, where I would read on Sundays. This really helped build my confidence. I have been in and out of prison since I was 15 years old. Although I knew for many years that I needed to change direction, it took me a while to finally make the decision to do something serious about it.

On 4th April this year I was assessed for a place at Peter McVerry Trust’s Residential Community Detox service – The Lantern, and started my programme 2 weeks later. To be honest I was apprehensive about going as I didn’t know what to expect. On my second day there my uncle died from an overdose. After attending his funeral it made me more determined to return to the house and give it my best shot. It took me a week or two to settle in and trust the staff, who were both direct and understanding. There were some real characters and no-one ever judged me. There was a great atmosphere in the house, and I felt I could be myself there. When it came to my leaving date, I didn’t want to go. Although deep down I knew this was merely a way of opening doors for me and helping me move on to other services. I was provided with many options to consider before my exit date and the staff helped me to plan out what to do next. I learnt a lot about myself and others while I was there.

I’ve started seeing things through a new set of eyes, and enjoy simple things like going for a walk, visiting the beach or working out at the gym. I am now back living at home, where I am helping re-build the trust and respect among my family. I’m starting studies at the end of the month and set myself little goals every day to help keep the bigger goal in place which is to stay clean. I got so much out of my time in the Lantern and my aim is to give something back. Other residents helped me in the house and towards the end of my stay I was helping others with their problems. I hope my story will give others hope.


“The most important thing in my life is my education”

My name is Karl and I am resident at St Catherine’s Foyer. I’ve been here about a month now. The place is nice and the staff here are very helpful and kind. Before I came to St Catherine’s Foyer I was living in rented accommodation. I was used to having my own space. I feel isolated even though the other residents are very friendly.

The most important thing in my life right now is my education. I have just signed up for and started a course to complete my leaving cert and my biggest hope is to do well in it. When I was younger I didn’t really realise the importance of getting a good education. I had my family amongst others saying how I should make sure to do the leaving cert. I didn’t realise it then but it is important and life has been difficult without it.

I have made a lot of sacrifices to be able to go back to education. When I do well in my leaving cert I will go on and continue my education. I’d like to do a course in sport and fitness. The day that I began living in St Catherine’s Foyer the staff told me that I could join the gym next door and I did, straightaway. Recently, I had gotten more into sports & begun to enjoy fitness activities. I’d also been of a member of a gym for a while before I got a place here in St Catherine’s.

In the last couple of months I have run 5 mile and 10 mile races in Dublin and I am training for the Dublin half marathon in September. If I can do well in my education and get my qualification I will probably emigrate. I think there are better prospects abroad and that will give me a better chance to do well in life. Life is hard and having an education in life doesn’t make it ok, but I will tell you this it makes it a lot easier to live happier and quiet life. Frankly, if not I would much rather be miserable in car coming home from a job in the rain than to miserable sitting on the side of the road in the rain with nothing.


“To me, methadone is a pair of green handcuffs”