The head of a Capuchin Day Centre, which feeds hundreds of homeless people every day, has appealed to the Government to do something about the crisis — not just talk about it.
The centre in Dublin that Br Kevin Crowley established in 1969 is busier than ever; it provides meals to some 4,000 people a week and distributes 1,200 food parcels.
Br Crowley, 79, from Enniskeane, Co Cork, told RTÉ radio he fears the homelessness crisis will get even worse.
He said the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke, was greatly concerned.
“Both of us will be lobbying to make sure that these people are got off the streets,” he said.
“The conditions as I see them at the moment are absolutely appalling and I appeal to the Government to do something, and not just talk about it, but do it.”
Br Crowley said a huge amount of money was being spent on homelessness but he wondered how it was being delegated.
“Give the money to where it should be going to: Give the money to the poor,” he said.
Br Crowley said he had given up going to meetings about homelessness and listening to people talking about ‘survey after survey’. “The surveys are costing thousands and nothing has happened,” he said.
He said he was greatly saddened by the plight of the ‘new poor’ — people who lost great jobs and had to come to the centre looking for food and help.
“My biggest worry is the young people on the streets. We had a night bus that used to pick them up and bring them to a bed and breakfast or a hostel. But that had been done away it. I hope the new lord mayor and myself will fight to get that bus back. That was a huge loss”
Br Crowley pointed to the example of a homeless man who rang a freefone number and was told he could get accommodation in Drogheda, Co Louth. “How was he going to get to Drogheda — a homeless person. It’s absolutely stupid.”
Other people were given places in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, or Bray, Co Wicklow. “How were they expected to get out there. Absolutely impossible.”
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