Charity Seeks More Beds for Homeless
The provision of 3,000 units of accommodation would go a long way towards solving the problem of long-term homeless in Ireland, the founder of a leading charity has said.
Sr Stanislaus Kennedy made her comments ahead of an event marking Focus Ireland's 25-year anniversary of offering services to people who are without a home.
'Does anybody care? Does anybody care of I am hungry or not? Does anybody care whether I have a house or not? Does anybody care if I die tonight?'
Taoiseach Enda Kenny marked the occasion by unveiling a plaque at the charity's drop-in centre in Dublin's Eustace Street.
Sr Stan said people who are homeless face huge challenges. Their daily lives are filled with uncertainties surrounding where they will eat and sleep.
"At the moment its a situation where there isn't enough emergency accommodation," Sr Stan said.
"The statutory bodies and voluntary agencies are giving out sleeping bags. Now that is ridiculous in this day and age."
"People who are out there are saying 'Does anybody care? Does anybody care of I am hungry or not? Does anybody care whether I have a house or not? Does anybody care if I die tonight?'
Sr Kennedy said the provision of 3,000 units of accommodation would go a long way toward solving the problem of long-term homeless in Ireland. The charity defines this as being homeless for more than six months.
"Once you have cracked that - that is hugely important - then you could tackle the other housing issues but go for them first. They are the most needy and it is possible and, really, you can make a dint on the whole situation."
The Taoiseach met customers and staff at the centre which provides advice and information as well as meals to people who are affected by homelessness.
Mr Kenny said he had discussed measures the Government could take to tackle the issue and said he would pursue the matter further in his capacity as chair of the Cabinet committee on Social Policy.
“I have just been discussing what it is that we might be able to do ... in respect of the 5,000 people who are homeless nationally and their requirement for three thousand houses,” Mr Kenny said.
“Between the Oireachtas committees and the Cabinet committee on Social Policy, which I chair myself, we will pursue this discussion to see if we can make further progress.”
Established in 1985 by Sr Stan, the charity supported 5,500 people in the months between January and August this year. This compares with 6,500 people in the whole of 2010.
(source: Irish Times)