An average of six households are becoming homeless each day in Dublin since the pandemic began, Dublin Simon Community has said.
The claim comes as the charity launched its urgent Christmas Fundraising Appeal to ensure the charity can continue to deliver homeless, housing and treatment services in Dublin and beyond.
Dublin Simon delivers a range of essential low threshold services to people experiencing homelessness and those in danger of losing their home.
More than 6,800 people are in emergency accommodation in the seven counties served by Dublin Simon Community, and most will be spending Christmas without a home.
The appeal particularly highlights the plight of the single homeless group, more than 3,300 of whom are expected to be in emergency accommodation for Christmas, with the simple message: No one should be homeless when Dublin is their home.
Senior Manager of Emergency Services at Dublin Simon Community, Claire McSweeney, said: “Every Christmas the team at Dublin Simon Community works to create a special Christmas Day for all those who are homeless and especially the most entrenched rough sleepers. Our staff and volunteers make sure everyone has something to enjoy on the day.
“We have breakfast together, each person gets a present to open and we spend the afternoon playing board games and watching movies – I suppose we try to create what most of us take for granted about Christmas at home. “
“People experiencing homeless find Christmas very hard, it can trigger bad memories such as childhood trauma, it makes them think about family they no longer see, very few even get to see their children. So we try to do everything we can to give them a bit of hope, a sense of connection and inclusion and to get them through the day.
“This year Christmas is going to be very different in our services due the restrictions and social distancing we all face but what I can assure you is that with the public’s support our staff and volunteers will make sure that every person in emergency accommodation, and all our services, will feel welcome, warmth and support to get them through this difficult Christmas, and of course to move out of homelessness for good.’’
Covid-19 and latest level 5 lockdown has caused the cancellation of Dublin Simon Community’s usual Christmas fundraising events and activities. This years Christmas Appeal will help to bridge this gap to ensure the continuity of essential services and supports for the homeless population through another cold and uncertain winter season.
Visit www.dubsimon.ie for more information.