Charity’s crisis services struggling to cope with demand in Dublin city centre.
The Director of one of Dublin’s leading Catholic charities has said demand for support, advice and hot food in the city increased by approximately 40% over the last 12 months.
Conor Hickey was speaking at Crosscare’s Annual Appeal at a homeless facility in Dublin today which was launched by the Archbishop of Dublin Dr. Diarmuid Martin (Address attached). Crosscare is the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin.
Appealing to the generosity of Mass goers, Archbishop Martin said Crosscare staff put faith into action bringing the very essence of Christianity to individuals and families who find themselves vulnerable and who experience poverty in its many modern day forms. He said that in recent years many people had been drawn onto poverty through no fault of their own and Crosscare has been striving to meet this new demand.
By the end of this year Crosscare, will have given out 180,000 meals in Dublin, an increase of 70,000 over the last two years. Crosscare’s city centre housing and welfare advice centre saw 4,543 people last year which is an increase of nearly 50% since 2008. Conor Hickey said that it was incredible to think that a service, set up to meet the needs of people facing grinding poverty in the middle of the last century, could find itself struggling to cope with demand for food and services in 2011.
Crosscare provides a €3 euro three course meal in three centres in Dublin – Holles Row, Longford Lane and Portland Row in the North Inner City. As well as a hot lunch, they distribute meals on wheels to the sick and elderly and breakfast to schoolchildren whose families are not in a position to give them a nutritious start to the day. Conor Hickey said that “worryingly, our food services are seeing small numbers of women and children turning up for food, something staff has not witnessed before.”
Conor went on to say that a combination of increased demand and a cut in their support funding from the State was now having a serious impact on its service provision. So far, he said a combination of staff taking pay cuts and cutbacks in administration had meant they were able to maintain these crucial services to those most in need but they were genuinely fearful of their ability to meet demand this winter.
Crosscare provides a wide range of services throughout Dublin including food, shelters for homeless people, migrant and emigrant advice, support for carers, free counselling for teenagers in crisis and drug and alcohol awareness programmes.
Mass goers throughout the Dublin Diocese are being asked to support Crosscare in their annual church appeal this weekend.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin launched the annual appeal in one of Crosscare’s homeless services in Amiens Street. This service has recently increased its offering to include a full 24 hour service to help people break the cycle of homelessness and to find a quality home of their own. Speaking at the launch Archbishop Martin said, “Crosscare is not just a service provider. As a Church organisation Crosscare is a call. It is a call which reminds the entire Christian community that witnessing to the love of God is not just something that a few do in a representative capacity in the Church’s name, but is a reflection of what Church community must be like.” Conor Hickey added that “the phasing out of night only shelters is a significant improvement for people who are homeless in the city.”
Archbishop Martin expressed his thanks to the Crosscare staff and volunteers and urged the public to give as generously as they could to the charity’s annual appeal this weekend.
Notes to editors:
Crosscare is the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin. It was set up in 1941 and is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Last year the charity
- Provided over 32,000 bed nights and support for homeless men and women.
- Distributed 110,000 meals in their food centres and homeless services.
- Dealt with 3,750 migration queries, including returning Irish emigrants and emigrating Irish young people
- Extended the hours of their free counselling service to teenagers and their families in crisis.
- Provided emergency accommodation for 80 smuggled and trafficked children and young people.
Michael Mc Donagh Crosscare 0876710442
Carol Faulkner, Communications Office, Archdiocese of Dublin 01 8360723/0876172947