Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 1 October 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# calls to action
Here are 15 PRACTICAL ways to help homeless people this Christmas and New Year
It can be as simple as treating someone with empathy when they approach you in the street.

MORE THAN 150 people in Dublin were recorded as being without secure accommodation for the night during the latest rough sleeper count by the Council-run Dublin Region Homeless Executive on 30 November.

Of that figure, 91 were sleeping rough and a further 61 made use of the Merchant’s Quay Night Café – a service which gives people who fail to secure a bed in emergency accommodation a place to go.

Perhaps an even more eye-opening figure is the number who were bedding down for the night in emergency accommodation: 3,766 beds were occupied on the night of this year’s count, up from 2,197 in 2014, marking almost a 60% increase in just a year.

Recent national figures showed almost 2,500 adults without children are now homeless across the State, along with 1,571 children, and 980 parents.

Many charities and organisations will be going the extra mile to make sure people who find themselves homeless this Christmas have a warm meal to eat and a bed for the night.

With that in mind, we asked some of them for practical suggestions on how to help people who are homeless over the next few weeks – and into next year.

From treating people with empathy when they approach you in the street, to an array of different ways to give cash and other items – here’s what they came back with:

mer1 Shutterstock Shutterstock

From the St Vincent de Paul…

Give respect 

Treat homeless people you see with respect, and ask if you can provide them with food and/or a hot drink.

Fill out a direct debit

Local SVP Conferences  are working to support families that are in hotels and B&Bs for Christmas including arranging for Santa to call to the children. They are also working to keep people in their rented accommodation every week of the year.  SVP also provides around 300 beds in its emergency homeless services throughout the country. You can find details of how to complete a direct debit here.

Help keep families in accommodation over Christmas

Call on local authorities and hotel owners to promise security of stay for families in emergency accommodation in hotels and B&Bs until at least 31 January and lobby your public representatives to push for more urgent action to reduce homelessness.
The rent question 
If you are a landlord, think twice before you increase the rent.

Homelessness reports launch PA WIRE PA WIRE

From Focus Ireland…

Donate old clothes

Let go of those once loved clothes to raise cash for Focus Ireland. The charity’s ‘Beloved’ shops sell brand new and once-loved high quality women’s and children’s clothing and accessories along with gifts and homewares. Post-Christmas, you’ll know where to donate your unwanted gifts. You can drop off items in store at one of the three locations here or your local Parcel Motel will deliver them for free!

Buy a stocking filler 

Buy the High Hopes Choir & Christy Moore’s single as a stocking filler: You can download a special edition EP of The High Hopes Choir joined by the legend, Christy Moore. Together they bring you a unique version of ‘Fairytale of New York’ and ‘Quiet Desperation’. Download it at iTunes/Spotify/Google Play etc. for only €2.49. All proceeds go to the SVP, Penny Dinners and Focus Ireland.

Let charities know if you see someone sleeping rough

Please help us to assist people who are sleeping rough by letting us know where they are located. Focus Ireland runs the Housing First Intake Team with the Peter McVerry Trust, and staff are out on the street every day and night to support people and get them in off the streets. Contact the team here.

Lobby the government 

NAMA will build 20,000 new homes over the coming years. However, even though over 800 families are homeless today, these houses are for the private market and not for social housing tenants. Focus Ireland are asking people to email the Minister for Finance and copy the letter to their constituency TDs, calling on the Government to reconsider its decision and direct NAMA to deliver much-needed social housing instead. Add your voice at

care1 Dublin Simon Dublin Simon

From Dublin Simon…

Raise money with family and friends

Hold your own fundraiser from bake sales to sponsored cycles. For information on how to get involved check here.

Buy a Simon Star

Give a meaningful gift this Christmas and buy a Simon Star for a loved one instead of a traditional gift. Options from €10 are available. One of €50 will provide a person with a place to call home, food and the joy of receiving a Christmas gift from under the tree.

Put together a care package

Make a Simon care pack of practical items that could be used by people who are homeless this Christmas (see above).

Homelessness reports launch PA Wire PA Wire

From the Ana Liffey Drug Project

Show empathy

Try to understand what the person might be going through and how hard that could be for them. For change to occur, it is important that a person feels valued, has their dignity, and is shown respect. If you have empathy for people in this situation, try to influence your loved ones and others to think more humanely about people who are on the streets.


Acknowledge people through a smile, a nod or a quick hello – loneliness and isolation only compounds a person’s mental health and addiction problems. Say hello, but also understand that people don’t always want to share their story. Respect people’s privacy as you would wish them to respect yours.


Donate to a charity like Ana Liffey Drug Project that works with people experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental health problems. The Charities Regulatory Authority maintain a register of charities which provides information to the public, and where you can find relevant information on services provided.

Make it an election issue

Call on your elected representatives to ensure that practical, relevant services (such as those who can work with mental health and addiction) form part of their parties’ manifestos for the coming general election.

Read: In his own words: Jonathan Corrie on homelessness – and hoping for a chance >

Read: “Alan Kelly is the only minister who understands the homeless problem,” says Peter McVerry >

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.