A WOMAN and her teenage son were forced to bed down in the Mater Hospital A&E Department for two nights because there was no accommodation available for them.
Lorraine Wolfe and her 15-year old son, Carlos, spent two nights in the hospital so they would be safe.
Speaking to the Herald yesterday as she waited to attend Dublin City Council's Parkgate Street homelessness service, the Cabra woman broke down.
"It was the only place I could think of that we would be safe and warm," she said. "We've just been walking the streets. I've nowhere to go with him."
Even in the A&E, Ms Wolfe said she could not sleep.
"How can I take my eyes off him?" she said.
"He's just done his Junior Cert and he wants to go back to school in September, but how am I supposed to send him to school from no home?"
The pair were also forced to sleep in the Phoenix Park over the past two weeks.
They lost their place in a north Dublin hotel because her son, in an emergency, broke the 10pm curfew, said Ms Wolfe.
"I'm tired and emotionally drained at this stage," she said.
On Friday night, when looking for hostel accommodation, Ms Wolfe said they were forced to flee from a drunken man who she thought was going to attack them.
Last December, Ms Wolfe and her son moved out of an apartment they had rented for four years in Dublin 7 as it was being sold.
Since then she has not been able to find anywhere to stay. She said that at this stage she would live anywhere.
She and her son's belongings have been left behind in the constant moving around, and Ms Wolfe said that at the beginning of her struggle with homelessness she had a suitcase but now they just have a plastic bag containing a few things.
They had been staying at friends' places, but she said she "was running out of places".
Ms Wolfe's plans to return to education to do a Fetac level-five certificate in healthcare next month have also been scuppered by their housing problems.
The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive said it does not comment on individual cases.
Last night, accommodation was arranged for Ms Wolfe and her son.
Christy Burke, chairman of the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICCH) volunteer group, said this case highlighted the scale of the city's homeless problem.
"That's the depth and the levels that they're going to," said Mr Burke.
"The human aspect of it is this - there's a woman with a child who wants to go back to education in September but doesn't know where she will be placed, so therefore the right to his education is being breached."