This month marked the tragic one-year anniversary of Jonathan Corrie, who was found dead in a doorway near Leinster house on December 1st.
While raising awareness of homelessness is a year-round battle, with Richard Gere himself saying he felt “invisible” when he recently took to the streets to research an upcoming role, there are some charities successfully managing to amplify their message this Christmas.
As an authority on the homeless crisis and its devastating effects Merchant’s Quay Ireland understand the importance of communicating effectively in order to galvanise support. Which is why MQI recently launched a television campaign with the goal of asking the general public to donate and in so doing, to help them give back what homelessness takes away.
MQI address homelessness at its most basic level by providing food and shelter. They priortise our fundamental human needs first and it’s the uncomplicated nature of this care that we can all easily understand and appreciate. In order to tackle the many issues arising from living on the street, such as mental health and addiction problems, MQI offers therapeutic groups, counselling, life skills training, personal development, work and pre-employment training to enable its service users successfully reintegrate into society. This holistic approach also incorporates family members directly and indirectly affected by a loved one’s life on the street, to help strengthen the necessary support networks necessary to rebuild shattered lives.
LikeCharity have been bowled over by the public reaction. The ad has resonated so strongly up and down the county because MQI quickly managed to encapsulate exactly what it means to be homeless at Christmas.
Homelessness is a universal issue but the way in which organisation’s highlight their cause is what makes the difference. Design Develop, an architectural design firm in Slovakia, has embarked on The Gregory Project, an initiative to turn billboard spaces into actual living spaces for the homeless. The Gregory Project plan to build small two-room apartments in these spaces—one room with an entrance hall, kitchen with a small desk and a raised bed with storage underneath, and the other room being a bathroom with the ad space itself actually offsetting the cost of construction.
Saint Vincent DePaul in London also created this emotive campaign to show how there are two sides to every story to raise awareness of homelessness amongst young people. Backed up by yesterday’s report from the Dublin Region Homeless executive which revealed the number of homeless children in Dublin has doubled this year.
And who could forget student Dominique Harrison-Bentzen’s appeal to raise help raise over £30,000 for a homeless man named Robbie, who gave her £3 for a taxi home after she lost her bank card on a night out. Using the power of social media Dominique enlisted the help of Ian Brown to help amplify her message and smash her original target by 8% via online donations.
Ultimately having your voice not only heard but listened to could be the difference between someone sleeping rough on the streets or having a roof over their head.