Homelessness in Ireland: A National Crisis

There are a lot of homeless people in Dublin right now.  But you probably already knew that.  Especially if you have been on the internet in the past 30 days.  

This is a crisis.  The numbers are staggering.  News providers have published statistics.  Politicians have weighed in their plans to resolve it.  Charities have worked harder than ever to get those affected back on their feet.  

Here at LIKECHARITY we want to help you make sense of all this.  We also want to let you know how you can help.

The Facts:

According to Minister of Housing Simon Conveney, 228 were sleeping rough last week in Dublin.  Coveney says these figures are shocking.  The rate is continuing to grow.  The problem is not specific to Dublin, all of Ireland is affected by this crisis.  This has been a problem that has snowballed and is still gaining momentum.  Since 2015, only one of ten homeless individuals have been provided housing.  

Historically, homeless have flocked to Dublin due to its excellent support systems.  This crisis is something the city has not yet experienced.

Focus Ireland, a charity aimed to end homelessness, reports  that 6,525 people are homeless today in Ireland.   This is bad.  In fact that number has been described as the worst ever recorded.  Vulture funds and poor economic conditions continue to lead families and individuals to seek emergency accommodations or worse, sleep in the street.

What is being done?

Coveney believes this issue is due to lack of housing.  The good news is that last week the government pledged to provide 1,500 rapid housing units in an attempt to provide shelter for those sleeping rough.  Coveney also plead for empty convents and presbyteries to be offered as lodging for homeless in Dublin.  Churches have been asked to offer empty properties to help ease the country’s crisis.  

There are also some unorthodox ideas to solve the issue with lack of housing.  Former Dublin Lord Mayor Mary Freehill has suggested using ships to accommodate destitute individuals.  These “floatels” have been used for cities which lack the room to accommodate oil workers.  Although this solution may sound intriguing it is little more than a dream at this point.  

Who is helping?

Merchants Quay and Focus Ireland are two charities that do brilliant work in supporting the homeless of Dublin and Ireland, respectively.  Their good deeds do not end there, they also focus on preventing individuals from becoming homeless and offer rehabilitation support.  Check out their websites here and here.

As with any crisis, there are ways for you to help.

Whether it is volunteering some of your time or making a donation, your support can help both of these fantastic charities continue their work and help more people.  If you want to make a difference visit their websites to find ways you can help.  Additionally, anyone owning a vacant property or building can contact the Department of Housing.  As colder weather approaches, we need to look to ourselves to fight this problem.  Christmas season usually brings out the best in each other, so this season let’s help those who need it most.


Communicating A Cause For Christmas.

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.