The Skoda car used by Pope Francis during his historic trip to Ireland is to be used to help homeless families.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has decided that the blue Skoda will be donated to Crosscare, the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin, for use by staff in their Mater Dei homeless hub. Each week, Crosscare staff assist homeless families in trying to move on from the temporary facility in the hub to more secure, long term accommodation.
At any one time 50 families are in the hub seeking housing. Since it opened, 100 families have moved through the temporary system, facilitated by Crosscare workers in their homeless services. Unfortunately, as the homeless crisis continues, as each family moves on there is another waiting to move in and the family hub is constantly full.
The now famous blue Skoda Rapid will be used by Crosscare staff to take families who are moving to view their next accommodation. It will be in daily use. Conor Hickey, Director of Crosscare services, said they were delighted with the gift from the Pope and he hoped that families who were struggling in this way would find this gesture from the Pope of some comfort in that they were constantly remembered by him.
Speaking at the World Meeting of Families in the RDS last week, Conor Hickey said the homeless crisis in the city has reached huge proportions and was now at a level that was unheard of three years ago. Mr. Hickey said at the Pastoral Congress in the RDS that the crisis was now defined by families, “people very much like you or I who, because of economic factors beyond their control, have found themselves in a housing market where there are no available houses.”
The Skoda car will be given over to Crosscare in the coming days. They will not be able to keep the number plate on the car – SCV 1 – which means Stato della Citta del Vaticano – “Vatican City”.
The former Mater Dei College was given over to Dublin City Council by the Archdiocese of Dublin last year. It was completely refurbished to a very high standard into apartments to allow families to move out of hotel accommodation and live and eat together in a more family friendly environment, with appropriate support services in place. The Hub is operated by Crosscare.