Pope’s visit should leave legacy of better helping the homeless

Pope’s visit should leave legacy of better helping the homeless

The World Meeting of Families (WMOF) should leave behind a legacy of helping families caught in the “disgraceful” homeless crisis in Ireland, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.

Speaking at a conference on the WMOF, Dr Martin said there should not only be a spiritual legacy from the event, but also a focus on “what we can do better in Ireland to help families”.

“You’ve got the homeless, those who are sleeping on the streets and it’s disgraceful. You’ve got families living in hotel rooms which is a shame on our city, and you’ve got young people who can’t start out on a married life of their own because of the cost of initial housing,” he said.


The archbishop said that the diocese is working towards building mini-apartments that should accommodate 50 families at the site of the Mater Dei Institute in Dublin, which used to be a facility for college students.

He said they are not ideal as they are transitional, but it will offer more privacy for the occupants compared to hotel rooms. It is the third project the archdiocese has been involved with in conjunction with Dublin City Council.

“We are hoping that we might be able to do more in the future,” said Dr Martin.

“Housing and having a decent place to raise their children in a healthy environment is important. We do need to address the problem – the backlog of the lack of social housing in Ireland,” he added.

The site at the Mater Dei Institute was made available by the archdiocese and will be run by Catholic charity Crosscare.

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive is spearheading the project.

New facilities

Last month Frances Fitzgerald said that over €15m had been invested in eight new facilities that could accommodate 240 families in Dublin.

The Department of Housing’s April 2017 report shows that over 1,300 families, with 2,708 children, were homeless in Ireland.

This has continued to rise this year month by month; in January there were 1,172 families that were homeless, with 300 fewer children needing homes.

The Dublin-based Inner City Helping Homeless charity said they recorded their highest ever number of people presenting as rough sleepers in one night at the beginning of June, with 141 men and 52 women on the streets.