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Cork people asked to sleep in their gardens this weekend to raise funds for the homeless

The event is due to take place this Saturday.

Image: Focus Ireland

A SOCIALLY DISTANT sleep-out is being held by Focus Ireland in Cork this weekend in a bid to raise funds for the homeless. 

The Big Rebel Sleep Out has been run by the charity in public spaces for the past three years, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic people are this weekend being asked to sleep out in the safety and security of their own homes or gardens. 

Participants may choose to sleep in their gardens or couch surf for one night to help raise funds to tackle homelessness in Cork. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Dick White of Focus Ireland said that “the reality of homelessness is still with us” during the Covid-19 crisis. 

“Covid-19 will pass but now it’s more challenging than ever to be homeless,” White said.

Calling on people to join the sleep out this weekend, White said that “it’s one way of supporting people who have fallen into homelessness”.

“It’s for one night, putting yourself out and making yourself just a little bit aware of what it might be to have to sleep on the couch all the time,” he said. 

People are being asked to “couch surf” to raise awareness of hidden homelessness. 

Hidden homelessness refers to people who move in with family and friends – often living in crowded, highly unsuitable accommodation, sometimes for long periods of time.

Families will opt to live in this type of situation instead of declaring as homeless, and as a result, will not be included in monthly figures.

Source: focusireland/YouTube

Speaking about the impact of Covid-19, Focus Ireland regional manager for the Mid & South-West Ger Spillane said that those experiencing homelessness “are extremely vulnerable to the risks” of the virus. 

“Not only are people who are experiencing homelessness more likely to have underlying health issues, they are unable to follow the most basic Covid-19 recommendations – stay at home and keep a social distance from other people,” Spillane said.

“During these difficult times our work here in Cork continues and we need the support of the people of Cork now more than ever to allow us to continue our services through the wider Cork region,” he said. 

“I will be playing my part by simulating a sleep out in my own garden on the night. It’s an exercise of building awareness of the issue of homelessness while also generating much-needed funds to assist us to deliver our services.”

More information on the Big Rebel Sleep Out can be found here 

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