‘Help is out there over New Year’

A Derry housing support worker has appealed to anyone threatened with homelessness over the New Year to seek help.

Sandra Duffy, First Housing’s youth accommodation support project co-ordinator, said there is help available over the Christmas and New Year period.

Ms Duffy said many people, particularly young people, can find themselves homeless at Christmas and they may not know where to turn for help.

“For many the Christmas period is a time of celebration and enjoyment, but sadly this is not the case for everyone,” she said.

“Unfortunately there are many in our city, through no fault of their own will find themselves without a home during the festive period.

“There can be many reasons for this.

“Away from the glitz and the festive TV adverts, in many homes there is a lot of stress and worry. A lot of time the tensions within a family setting can be brought to a head at this time of year, leading to the extra consumption of alcohol, domestic violence, or violence against children.

“Sadly this can lead to in some instances to young people leaving the family home with the clothes on their back and a small bag of belongings,” Ms Duffy said.

The housing support worker encouraged anyone who requires help to get in touch with any of the agencies which help the homeless.

“They need to know there is help out there, friends and family one step removed need to know there is help out there.

“I would urge any young person who finds themselves in this situation or anyone who knows of a young person in this situation to contact myself or any of the support workers in my team on 02871371849,” Ms Duffy added.