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Decisions by Department of Social Protection have 'catastrophic results on peoples lives'

A new report by charity Crosscare identifies social welfare issues as a major factor in homelessness.

A REPRESENTATIVE FROM a leading social justice charity has hit out at the “catastrophic” impact decisions by the Department of Social Protection are having on people’s lives.

Speaking at the launch of a new report, Ciara McGrath, project leader with Crosscare Information and Advocacy Services said: ”What we try and do all the time is to intervene and stop a crisis happening…it has been unprecedented in regards to what has happened to families”.

We see decisions being made in the Department of Social Protection that are having catastrophic results on peoples lives, because their rent supplement is being stopped, because their primary payments are being stopped. There have been responses to the homeless issue, but it’s just not enough.

AB and Ethiopian orthodox church Diarmuid Martin with Abba Yohannes Kebede Amsalu of the Ethopian Orthodox Tewahido Church Source: Photocall/Laura Hutton

Speaking to the TheJournal.ie at the launch of Crosscare’s annual report today, Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said: “The important thing is that you help the people that you are working with to stand up for their own rights and to free themselves.

You can talk about medical cards or you can talk about refugees or you can talk about homelessness. We have to find a way of talking about these things all together because they are all linked.

The issues people came forward to Crosscare with last year were:

  • Social welfare issues – 30%
  • Immigration status – 25%
  • Risk of homelessness – 19%
  • No income – 14%
  • Homeless – 12%

Last year, the service held 12,000 interventions with 5,000 clients. Due to over-demand, Crosscare was required to turn away 1,000 people who sought help.

The report looks back on the work done by Crosscare in the past year and an action plan for 2014 onward. The service identified a need for better information to be available when dealing with government services.

Failure to identify entitlement to social welfare support was outlined as a key area that had to be addressed.

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Lyudmyla Vinnikova Lyudmyla Vinnikova originally came to Ireland as an asylum seeker but is now a volunteer with Crosscare Source: Photocall/Laura Hutton

Also speaking at the conference was Lyudmyla Vinnikova, a hospitality volunteer from Ukraine who originally came to Ireland as an asylum seeker.

“In August 2013 I was granted refugee status. I was so happy…. They helped me find my way, through the complicated system of applying for help…I am happy to have the opportunity to give something back.”

READ: ‘The government needs to act now’: Demand for homeless service up 25%>

READ: Dublin Mayor: It’s ‘bullsh*t’ gardaí can’t take in homeless under-18s without social worker>

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