What lies ahead for Dublin’s Homeless this Christmas?

by Rose Barrett
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Dublin homeless charities are already on alert and appealing for the public to support fundraising drives to help those living on the streets during the increasingly frosty weather.

Dublin Simon, Tiglin and Depaul are asking for urgent donations and rough sleeping notifications to help bring people into safe and warm accommodation as temperatures plummet, in advance of the ‘festive’ season ahead.

Due to the high risk of hypothermia, Dublin Simon’s Outreach team is urging the public to report anyone they see sleeping rough through the Dublin Rough Sleeper Alerts App.  The team is particularly concerned that the recent violent outbreaks in Dublin City Centre may have prompted some rough sleepers to move from their usual locations into out of the way places. This could make it difficult for Outreach to provide essential care to this vulnerable group.

The most recent figures for people in emergency accommodation show that a shocking 44 per cent of the 9,713 people without a home in Dublin are children and young people aged 24 or under.  More than 1,400 families representing 3,060 children in Ireland’s capital will spend Christmas in temporary accommodation. See www.dubsimon.ie 

Tiglin which runs the Lighthouse in Dublin and runs Carraig Eden in Greystones, is hosting a special sleepout event on December 15, at Greystones Marina. 

“Inspired by the sentiments expressed by Uachtarán na hEireann, Michael D Higgins at the opening of the Tiglin facility in Greystones, next week’s event emphasises that a home is not just bricks and mortar – it’s about dignity and participation,” said Jay Bobonic of Tiglin.

“If half of Greystones’ population were made homeless in the morning, this still would not represent the 13-14,000 homeless in Ireland. Not everybody will be able to sleep out on the night, but people are welcome to drop by and listen to music and stories. Children are welcome to bring a backpack containing clothes (hats, gloves, scarves, underwear or a sleeping bag which will be distributed at The Lighthouse, Tiglin’s homeless café in Dublin City Centre, which between 400-500 hot meals daily and aids individuals in their journey out of homelessness.”

Tiglin thanked Greystones Tidy Towns for allowing usage of the Christmas marquee at the Marina. From 7pm on Friday 15, there will be music and personal stories from Tiglin’s residents, hot drinks, and delicious treats from local suppliers and sponsors. At 11pm, a Christmas film will be screened with fresh popcorn served. Donations welcome at https://www.gofundme.com/f/x4wuw3-tiglin-christmas-community-sleepout-2023

Meanwhile, Depaul launched its Homeless Crisis Christmas Appeal. Chief Executive David Carroll has said that the cost of not intervening and acting has a longer term consequence on individuals and families experiencing homelessness, has led to a growing number of adults and children with significant mental health issues.

 “The needs of a homeless person is much more than a bed for the night,” said the Depaul CE. “Homelessness is one of the biggest challenges we face in Dublin and across Ireland, and comes with a staggering human cost. 

“Many of our clients (both individuals and families) present with multiple complex support needs, including any combination of physical health, mental health and addiction issues. Homelessness discriminates, has a severe impact on a person’s physical and mental health, and takes away basic human rights such as housing and health. Homelessness is a desperately lonely and isolating place to be, especially in the run up to Christmas.

“The groups we work with are telling us they are at breaking point. We’ve set projections around climate change, it’s now time that we set projections for homelessness, taking into account that we have made a commitment with the EU to end homelessness by 2030.”

He noted the number of families Depaul supported last year increased by 60 per cent, with eight babies born into homelessness. Dubliners can donate to Depaul’s urgent Christmas Appeal at www.depaul.ie or by calling 01 453 7111.

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