Sr Stan appeals for help at start of Focus Ireland’s Christmas campaign

‘It breaks my heart to know some children have been born into homelessness’

Urgent appeal: Sr Stan with Sean Wade, Sarah Moran and their children, Zoe, Summer and Sean, who were homeless for more than two years when they lost their home in the private rented market.

Urgent appeal: Sr Stan with Sean Wade, Sarah Moran and their children, Zoe, Summer and Sean, who were homeless for more than two years when they lost their home in the private rented market.

 

Some children have been born into homelessness and will spend their first Christmas stuck with their family in the one little room they have been forced to live in, the founder of Focus Ireland has said.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy made her comments as the charity launched its annual Christmas appeal on Sunday with the campaign line: “Our children are homeless tonight.” She urged people to “please give what they can afford” to the appeal, which she described as urgent.

The fundraising push, which is the most important of the year for Focus Ireland, the lead nonstatutory agency supporting homeless families, comes as figures show that 3,124 children in 1,455 families were living in emergency accommodation in September. Dublin, where the charity does most of its work with families, had 2,416 children in 1,138 families in homeless accommodation. Sixty-two per cent of the families were headed by lone parents.

“We depend on donations now more than ever”

“We work hard to support families and individuals every day and not just at Christmas, but we depend on donations now more than ever to raise funds so our services can cope with the constantly rising demand,” Sr Stan said.

“It breaks my heart to know that some of these children have been born into homelessness. Some of them will spend their first Christmas stuck with the family, forced to live in one little room together.

“This is awful, and it makes me think back to what Christmas is about, how nobody would take in the baby Jesus and his family. I am sure this will strike a chord with everyone, no matter what their beliefs are, as these children today have also been turned away and left homeless . . . They are our children, too, and we have a duty as a society to provide a safe home for them.”

The Focus Ireland campaign will feature on television, radio and billboards until Christmas. Details of how to donate are on focusireland.ie and at 1850-204205.