Homelessness ‘out of control’ – charity

Homelessness ‘out of control’ – charity Fr Peter McVerry

Homeless services are in a worse state now than ever before, according to the Peter McVerry Trust which launched its 2012 annual report this week.


After 30 years of working to eliminate homelessness, the trust said the problem is now worse than ever, perhaps even out of control.


According to its 2012 annual report, there were 5,000 homeless people in Ireland last year.


The annual review also revealed the majority of those using its service were aged between 18 and 35, but the youngest person it assisted was 13.


The trust said that 80% of those who availed of its services were men and 74% were aged between 18 and 35.


Seven new cases of homelessness were recorded every day in Dublin last year, but only three of those could be accommodated daily.


Commenting on the review, Jesuit campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said the problem is heightened by the Governments decision to abandon social housing.


“In order to deal with the problem of homelessness the Government have got to take control of the social housing stock and increase it,” he said.


Meanwhile, Merchant’s Quay Ireland’s (MQI) annual review revealed the charity provided more than 76,500 meals last year while its primary healthcare service for homeless people made 3,316 client interventions.


The report also discloses that MQI’s needle-exchange service in Dublin recorded 20,847 client visits in 2012, up almost 2,000 on 2011. Altogether, 3,634 individuals accessed its needle-exchange programme in 2012, of which 558 were new users.


Outside Dublin, MQI’s Midlands Harm Reduction Outreach Service worked with an average 130 clients per month in 2012, providing over 3,000 needle exchange interventions.


Speaking at the launch, MQI CEO Tony Geoghegan called on the Government to honour their commitment to the most vulnerable in society.


“Demand for our homeless and drugs services is growing, yet finances are contracting. We call on the Government to honour their commitment to social justice and maintain services that protect the most vulnerable men and women in Ireland,” he said.