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St Vincent de Paul forecasts record number of calls for support this December

The cost of energy, rent and transport are putting pressure on low-income households, the society said.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

ST VINCENT DE Paul expects to see a record number of calls for support this year, saying the figure could reach almost 200,000 by the end of December.

It is appealing for help from the public to assist the people who will seek its services.

The society’s national president Rose McGowan said that the country is “facing a perfect storm for families contending with a cost-of-living crisis on multiple fronts”.

“Energy prices are soaring, we are seeing rents rise well beyond what people can afford and increasing transport costs are also putting pressure on low-income households,” McGowan said.

SVP is “deeply concerned” that over the coming months, “this crisis will come to a head as households are unable to find extra room in the budget for escalating energy costs”.

“In those circumstances they will inevitably turn to SVP for help. Need is the only criteria we apply when people seek our help, but to provide that help we need the generous support of the Irish public that we are seeking through this 2021 annual appeal,” McGowan said.

“We are appealing for donations to be made locally, online or over the phone that will help people through this winter and into the new year.”

A Red C poll commissioned by SVP in March found that 43% of Irish people were facing financial pressure due to the pandemic, including loss of income, increased household expenditure on basic needs and erosion of savings to meet ordinary living expenses.

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Households also faced pressures like falling behind on bills and being forced to cut back on essentials such as food, heating and electricity.

One in four people said they had cut back on food and utilities due to the pandemic and almost 10% of tenants said they had fallen behind on their rent.

Earlier this year, SVP said that it received almost 300 calls a day in mid-August from parents struggling ahead of the return to schools.

The number of calls relating to school costs were 10% higher than previous years and related to requests for financial help with parental contributions, schoolbooks, digital equipment, and the cost of school uniforms. 

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Lauren Boland

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