According to new research conducted on behalf of the European Commission, housing is currently the biggest issue facing Irish society, with 52% of the population citing it as a key concern. Combining the low supply of available and affordable properties with huge demand, it is no surprise that people are using alternative measures to find accommodation, and as a Newstalk radio segment reports, the queer community, resourceful as ever, has turned to Grindr to aid its search.
Journalist Henry McKean spoke to a young married couple, Daniel and Ethan, who are currently sharing a single bed in the former’s family home, and struggling to find a place of their own.
“Rooms in Dublin are extortionate. There’s people that are working full-time and are on premium wages, making as much as they can, and then when it comes to it, they can’t afford it,” Daniel expressed.
In relation to living with his parents, he says, “It completely depletes your privacy… It’s very discomforting in a way, even though they’re my family and they love me, but when you’re married, you want to have your own thing but we can’t because we can’t afford it – it’s way too expensive.”
Cost is not the only obstacle, however, as each property listing on websites like Daft is met with hundreds of responses from interested parties, all of whom are competing for the contract.
“The best place now honestly is Grindr. It’s the gay community helping people, honestly. We’re helping each other. It’s all we can do.”
Ethan, a GCN contributor, is an American native who has been living in Dublin for four years. He has been forced to move several times during his stay in the Irish capital for numerous reasons, including rising rent prices and unfriendly landlords.
In reference to using the dating app to search for properties, he told GCN: “I think that Grindr has been a great help when it comes to looking for accommodation because queer folks can benefit from a kind of preference that we are often denied by landlords. Landlords might be less likely to rent to a married gay couple or two dating gay men, but on Grindr, people renting out rooms usually would prefer to live with other queer people. Similarly, we have been able to meet up with other gay men looking for apartments to search for two or three-bedroom apartments with, saving us all money in the long run.”
However, it has not been all positive, Ethan revealed. “We had one bad experience on Grindr, where a fella offered us a room, we loved it and were so excited and as soon as we left the viewing, he started acting very predatory, saying we could only stay in exchange for sex. Thankfully that was an isolated incident.”
He concluded: “As helpful as Grindr has been, my husband and I are still essentially homeless, currently living in a cramped room in his mother’s house until we can find something else.”
McKean also spoke to two people who have successfully used the dating app to find housing, one of which, John, had a response within hours of posting a status saying he was looking for a room.
“For me, I would rally behind looking at your community to find somebody who’s like-minded, who you feel comfortable living [with],” John advised, also noting the benefit of avoiding having homophobic experiences.
Brian also secured accommodation recently, thanks to his efforts on the app.
“I changed my name on my profile to ‘Looking for a room’,” he told the journalist, adding that he would visit different areas of the city and open Grindr to see what was available in those locations. Many people got in touch, whether they had a free spot themselves, knew someone who did, or simply let him know that they’d keep an eye out.
“I was surprised at the level of how much people were helping each other out,” he said.
While Grindr is proving to be an innovative way for queer people in Ireland to source accommodation during the housing crisis, it is important to remain vigilant while using the app. For further advice on how to stay safe on online platforms, click here.
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