Public services failing homeless – Archbishop

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has described the level of homelessness in Dublin as “shameful”.

Speaking at Crosscare’s Year 1 Report launch last week, Dr Martin said the “vulnerable and marginalised” often fall “prey to the very systems which were there to provide them with protection and support”, and condemned “services which are below standards and which do not respond to our needs”.

He told The Irish Catholic that in order to tackle the escalating homelessness crisis we must be “protagonists in society”. Criticising the waste of resources in Dublin, he said, “We have increased homelessness and we have unoccupied housing; we have people hungry and enormous quantities of food thrown away daily.”

Crosscare, the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin, offers housing and welfare information, a migrant service and a refugee service.

Last year, the agency worked with 5,000 people and carried out 12,000 interventions, with around 80-100 people calling in to their drop-in centre daily. However, due to the growing demand for their services, they were unable to assist another 1,000.

Ciara McGrath, Project Leader with Crosscare Housing & Welfare Information said: “It is vital that our social protection mechanisms are less defensive, more user-friendly and to be accessible and navigable by the people who need them most.”