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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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'Another disappointing and frustrating year': Homeless charity helped more people than ever in 2018

The Peter McVerry Trust released its annual report for 2018 today.

shutterstock_1556678288 Source: Shutterstock/Derick Hudson

THE PETER MCVERRY Trust housing and homeless charity helped more people than ever last year as it gave over 5,500 people shelter or housing.

The charity released its annual report for 2018 today, saying that it is “disappointing” that it worked with more people than ever before in its 35th year in operation.

The report reveals that the charity worked with a record 5,841 people during the course of the year.

Remarking on statistics which show that the number of homeless adults and children continued to rise in 2018 Fr Peter McVerry said it was “another disappointing and frustrating year for homeless people”.

The report finds that 686 more adults, 209 more families and 480 more children were made homeless in the 12 month period.

“These figures, on their own, however, while disappointing, do not reflect the true tragedy of homelessness,” Fr McVerry said.

McVerry added that the problem may well be exacerbated in the coming years as there are 40,000 mortgages in arrears of more than two years in the state and the Central Bank estimates that at least 50% of these will be repossessed.

McVerry said that there’s a risk that the people living in those repossessed houses will end up homeless.

The report notes that the problem of homelessness has spread far beyond Dublin with Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kerry, Mayo and others all recording increases.

Weather alerts

shutterstock_1036993444 Source: Shutterstock/Bartosz Luczak

The extreme weather conditions brought by Storm Emma and the Beast from the East saw the largest mobilisation in the charity’s history.

It erected several marquees in a sports hall to house people who would have otherwise been sleeping rough and it had a minibus patrolling the streets of Dublin picking up people who wanted to be indoors.

A spokesperson for the charity said some people refused the offer but a doctor travelled on the bus to assess if their refusal was due to a mental illness which prevented them from making an informed decision. When the doctor ruled that this was the case the people were brought to hospital.

Housing stock

During the course of the year the trust took over the operation of Stepping Stone Accommodation and also opened Castle Court apartments in Dublin 2 as it increased its housing stock by over 40%.

The latter development was purchased with the help of the Housing Agency, Dublin City Council and Rebuilding Ireland. At a cost of €3.7 million, it is the single largest purchase in the trust’s history.

By the end of the year PMVT had over 390 residential units and later today it is set to turn the sod on a new housing development of eight apartments at New Street South in Dublin 8. 

“For the past number of years we have been focused on growing our housing stock to provide more pathways out of homelessness,” the charity’s CEO Pat Doyle said.

“We are committed to the Housing First model and housing-led response to homelessness but the only way we can ensure that we can deliver on those approaches is if we are constantly increasing our housing stock so more people can leave homelessness behind for good,” he added.

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Ceimin Burke

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