Focus Ireland launches Christmas appeal for homeless families

Latest figures show nearly 5,000 people in emergency accommodation across State

“Families who are homeless are often squeezed into one tiny hotel room – nowhere to cook or for children to play.” Photograph: Alan Betson

“Families who are homeless are often squeezed into one tiny hotel room – nowhere to cook or for children to play.” Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Some 72 families with children presented to homeless services in Dublin in October, according to new figures from Focus Ireland.

The charity, which is the lead agency in Dublin working with homeless families, is making its Christmas appeal to the public to support its work.

Separate figures released over the weekend show the number of homeless children in Dublin has more than doubled in a year. The data, from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, shows that during the week October 18th-25th there were 1,425 children in 677 families in emergency accommodation in Dublin.

Constant rise

The number of children in homeless accommodation has gone up every month since October 2014, apart from a slight dip between November 2014, when there were 741, and December when there were 726.

The figures come ahead of a planned homelessness “summit” hosted by Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly in Dublin today at which preparations for winter will be discussed with agencies and church representatives.

Launching the Christmas appeal, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, founder of Focus Ireland, said that while the problem was most acute in Dublin it was also growing in towns and cities outside the capital.

Children ‘feel it the worst’

Sr Stanislaus, describing the impact of homelessness on children, said they “feel it the worst”.

“Many children and their families who are homeless are often squeezed into one tiny hotel room – three, four, five people in one room, nowhere to cook or for children to play.

“Focus Ireland is working hard to support these families every day, and not just at Christmas, but we really depend on donations at this time of year to raise vital funds to make sure our services can cope with the ever-rising demand.”

Demand for the charity’s services have grown 44 per cent in the past two years.