We are probably all familiar with the phrases ‘No place like Home’ and perhaps it is understandable that we take the concept of ‘home’ for granted but there are a lot of people who do not have the luxury of a roof over their head. Sadly the numbers are on the increase and the country is experiencing a huge crisis in homelessness at this present time.
Faceless as well as homeless
Many people on the streets become faceless as well as homeless. Thousands of us never see them at all; those who see them every day often ignore them with averted eyes or cross the road. Perhaps we fear being asked for money, being spoken to or simply confronting the idea of someone who is cold, whose diet is poor, whose limbs are aching but who is unmistakably human really ‘just like us’. Do we harbour some secret fear that if circumstances were different it could be us? An inability to face that deep-seated dread allied to a kind of guilt compels us to turn away.
Many people on the streets become faceless as well as homeless. Thousands of us never see them at all; those who see them every day often ignore them with averted eyes or cross the road.
Those who have no home have no defence, are vulnerable to assault and can be victims of casual cruelty. One man John, a familiar figure in the Capital, had to jump into the Liffey to rescue his rabbit after some thug threw the little creature into the river. On another occasion he was kicked in the head. Others have been attacked in hostels and even murdered.
Unprecedented numbers of vulnerable young people are living out of home perhaps they have opted out of children’s homes or been asked to leave because of difficult behaviour. There has been a 38% increase in the number of children homeless in the year from June 2017 to June 2018. The stereotype of the homeless as bearded, alcoholic old men is very much an application of the past.
There has been a 38% increase in the number of children homeless in the year from June 2017 to June 2018.
Among all the charities that we support are two very special ones who try to improve the quality of life for homeless people.
They are Focus Ireland and The Homeless Street Café.
Focus Ireland believes that everyone has a right to a place they can call home. It is one of the organisations working with people who are homeless or are at risk of losing their home. They offer individuals and families, advice, support and education on how to have and keep a home.
The Homeless Street Café are a group of volunteers who offer food, toiletries, clothes and friendship to the homeless every Tuesday night (8-11 pm) on Grafton Street. People from all walks of life selflessly volunteer their time, their skills, their food, friendship and other donations to try to help some of
the homeless on the streets of Dublin.
This special interaction touches many people’s lives – not just those without a home but also the volunteers who experience what it really means to assist those no less human, just less fortunate.
A sad fact of homeless existence is loneliness
To get involved or to make a contribution, check out their Facebook Pages. The Homeless Street Café in particular are always seeking clothes, toiletries and food. Saint Martin Apostolate are delighted to be helping out a little with these amazing groups of people and we would encourage others to assist in any way they can.
A sad fact of homeless existence is loneliness. Many foreign homeless like Eastern Europeans cannot afford to phone home and so lose touch with relatives. Homeless people by definition are transitory and do not remain long in one place.
In James Bowen’s bestselling book A Street Cat named Bob – How he writes about the first evening he shared with Bob. “As I lay listening to his gentle purring in the dark, it felt good to have him there. He was my company; I guess I’d not had a lot of that lately.” One Man and his Cat Found Hope on the Streets. What the men and women who volunteer also give is the precious gift of conversation.
Other admirable charities that provide services to those who are seeking somewhere to stay are:
The Dublin Simon Community – The Dublin Simon Community’s soup run goes on 365 nights a year and also provides many services which aim to help those on the streets, people who are in their own accommodation but at risk of homelessness and those at any stages in between
Find out more here…
Merchants’ Quay Ireland – Believe in a just society where no-one has to face homelessness or addiction alone, and where everyone has the support they need to reduce the harm caused by homelessness and addiction and to build a better life; an inclusive society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Merchants’ Quay dispense clean socks, bandages, tea and also work to provide counselling, rehabilitation, housing referrals and job training.
Find out more here…
The Capuchin Day Centre – Capuchin friar Kevin Crowley has told how the impending visit of Pope Francis in August will lift the spirits of those in need who avail of the services at the Day Care Centre in Church Street. In an interview with the Irish Sunday Mirror the founder of the Centre said ‘When I saw people coming into our church, going around the streets, the dustbins and taking food out of them…Being hunted out of various places and nowhere to go during the daytime, it really encouraged me to do something to help so they’d have some dignity and respect’.
Find out more here and watch the video below
Threshold – Threshold is a national charity providing free advice and support to people renting or facing homelessness. They share a vision of an Ireland which everyone has a right to secure, affordable housing, appropriate to their needs. They do this by:
1) Providing independent advice and support to people renting or facing homelessness. For many people, our advice and intervention can make the difference between housing and homelessness
2) Campaigning for suitable housing delivered on a rights based approach;
3) Analysing existing housing problems and seeking innovative approaches and solutions.
Find out more here…
To find out more about what we do at Saint Martin Apostolate click here