The months are getting colder and colder, the leaves are falling off the trees, we’re all looking forward to Christmas. The weather has been dry so far and we’re all hoping that the rain holds off… because you know, there’s nothing worse than getting lashed on when your rushing from the train or bus to work. Wet feet for the day, hair ruined… ugh.
My walk to work from the train station takes literally 5 minutes. On the way to work I see at the very least 5 homeless people (5 people in 5 mins!). They are all at their regular spots, from time to time they change but its mainly the same people. Some are Irish, some are not. Some are drinking in the morning, some are not. Some are clearly intoxicated with whatever their choice of drug is. Some days those drinkers and drug addicts are not intoxicated, but they are still homeless.
If I go out to lunch, I walk towards Grafton st. to get some food or maybe do some shopping. On my way I find myself passing more homeless people, at least one person every few hundred feet.
Every homeless person I meet asks me for money. Sometimes I give some change if I have it handy. A couple of times I’ve given the man near the grocery store I go to some fruit from the work supply i’ve just bought. Most of the time I don’t give anything. Even if I have it, I tell them no and then walk right back by them with a cup of coffee in hand, or lunch I’ve just bought with the money I can’t spare for them. I always feel awful about it.
I’m not a mean person, my main reason for not giving anything is that there are so many homeless people I pass who need my help and I can’t possibly give to everyone. I don’t even mind that if I give them money they might use it for drugs. Each to their own. But I just can’t afford to give to everyone all the time. I see these people every day. It breaks my heart to see so many homeless people on the streets especially coming into winter. I’m worrying about wet feet and these people have no shelter from the rain or cold full stop.
It has been bothering me for a while now and I finally decided I wanted to do something to help. Its not a huge gesture but it’s a start… I decided to set up a direct debit donation to the Dublin Simon Community. I can’t give to everyone, but I can give to a reputable charity who are helping homeless people in Dublin every day. Homelessness can happen to anyone, its never a choice.
Dublin Simon Community**
The Simon Communities throughout Ireland provide the best possible care, accommodation and support for people experiencing homelessness and those at risk.
Dublin Simon Community provide services to over 3,000 people in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Services range from:
- Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
- Soup Runs & Rough Sleeper Teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.
- Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
- Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence.
- Census 2016, 4,262 people were counted in accommodation providing shelter for people who are homeless or were identified as sleeping rough on Census Night 2016 in Dublin alone. However the Dublin Simon Community would view this as the absolute minimum figure.
- Dublin Region Homeless Executive Rough Sleeper Count Official figures released by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive found 102 counted sleeping rough, plus 69 attending Merchants Quay Ireland’s Nite Cafe, totals 171 people needing emergency accommodation on the night of the count in April. Over 2,900 adults are in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region alone. Over 2,000 children in more than 1,000 families are also in emergency accommodation in the capital, many accessing hotel rooms with no facilities to cook or clean, with often just a bed to share. These figures cover all of Dublin city and county, inclusive of the four Dublin Local Authority areas.
** Taken from www.dubsimon.ie
Why I donate and why you should too!
- There are 6525 people ‘officially homeless’ in Ireland. This figure includes adults and children with their families, the number of families becoming homeless has increased by over 40% since last year and one in three of those in emergency accommodation is now a child. However it does not include the ‘hidden homeless’ who are living in squats or ‘sofa surfing’ with friends or people who are living in domestic violence refuges.This figure also excludes people who are sleeping rough. In December 2015, the official rough sleeping count confirmed 91 people sleeping rough, with an additional 61 in the Nite Café, without a place to sleep. *www.focusireland.ie
- Homelessness can happen for any number of reasons. The most common causes can be from the breakdown of relationships, financial trouble, substance abuse, mental or learning difficulties or institutionalisation.
- Although I’m not against it, money given to homeless people often doesn’t benefit their well being. Homeless people rarely need money for food or accommodation.
- Homelessness Charities work every day to provide the right type of support for the homeless in Ireland.
- By donating, the charities are able to provide services such as emergency housing, medical and rehabilitation treatment, soup kitchens and much more.
- Almost 90% of donations to the Dublin Simon Community go to homelessness services
- Its a good thing to do, Homeless people need help and we can help them.
So Guys, I don’t know if this piece has made any sort of impression on you, its more of a personal account of why I decided to donate to a homelessness charity but I hope it has struck a chord. If you’ve been thinking about donating to charity recently, or maybe you’ve noticed just how bad the homeless crisis is in the city, now might be the time to donate.
If you haven’t been thinking about it at all, maybe give it some consideration. The next time you’re running to work in the rain from the bus, or you’re taking off your wet jacket and commenting on how cold it is as you walk through the door of your home, you might remember this piece and spare a thought for all the people who are on our streets with no home to go to.
Christmas is coming up. Maybe its the good deed for the year you’ve been looking for and just maybe you will be the difference to someone out there. The charities can use all the help they can get.
My chosen charity is the Dublin Simon Community. Its so easy to donate, I’ve chosen a monthly direct debit but you can also make a one time donation if you can’t commit to a monthly payment… Every little helps!
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