Demand for homeless support rises


Workers who were building homes during the construction boom are among the country’s new homeless, it was claimed today.

Focus Ireland said there had been a massive increase in the number of people looking for support after they lost their jobs due to the recession.

The charity has launched a hard-hitting fundraising campaign to ensure it can cope with the growing demand from people who are homeless this winter. Charity key rings will be sold by volunteers in the coming week.

The campaign includes an admobile outside the gates of Government Buildings, featuring a poster showing a man sleeping in his car, with the headline: “I used to build homes. Then I lost mine.”

Chief executive Joyce Loughnan said some of the men coming in to use the charity's services had been working on building sites but then lost their jobs and got in to debt.

“They could no longer pay the rent and lost their apartment or flat, and some ended up homeless. We are trying to help them secure a home again and escape from being homeless," she said.

Ms Loughnan added: “It’s sadly ironic that despite the thousands of surplus houses that were built in recent years, up to 5,000 people are still homeless due to the lack of social housing.”

Elsewhere, EBS Building Society has joined forces with the Simon Communities of Ireland to support 20 full-time volunteers on its six-month training programme.

Noeleen O’Callaghan, volunteer co-ordinator, said volunteers not only give their time and help those experiencing homelessness, but gain valuable skills for the future. “The support given from EBS Building Society further enforces the importance of the work volunteers provide, and acts as the truest recognition for our programme,” she added.