An overstretched charity dealing with the homelessness crisis is encouraging people to leave it money in their wills.
Cork Simon has taken the step in response to the alarming increase in people sleeping rough on the streets of the city.
Between 2011 and 2014, the number of people sleeping out has increased seven-fold and during the first nine months of this year, Cork Simon’s Outreach Team have met 285 different people sleeping rough — a figure which exceeds the total number from all of 2014.
Men and women, of all ages and people from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences are turning to Cork Simon for support and it is hard-pressed to deal with the level of demand.
Up to 40% of people using the charity’s soup run are in private rented accommodation.
Rents have soared and by the time they’re paid there’s not enough money left for food.
To bridge the gap between state funding and the cost of running its services and meeting growing need, Cork Simon must raise €2.7 million this year.
The charity has a range of established methods through which people can support, from direct debit donations to organising a coffee mornings, or attending events like their annual Christmas concert.
Over the few years some people have left the charity money in their wills and it is being further encouraged as a way of helping people down on their luck.
“People find it a convenient way to give as it costs nothing now but allows people to pledge a gift that will last long into the future, making an impact more significant than they ever thought possible.” Leona Walsh from Cork Simon said.
She said even modest gifts are significant to the charity.
“After looking after friends and family, a gift of even 1% can make a real and long lasting difference to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our community.”
George O’Regan, a committed Cork Simon supporter, recently decided to turn his and his late wife’s support for Cork Simon into a lasting legacy, ensuring that the compassion and values they shared in life would live on and continue to benefit people in need.
“I remember seeing people by the old GPO where the Elysian Tower is now. They’d be in the bushes sleeping with cardboard. I’d tell my wife how desperate it was to see people sleeping out,” George said.
Our hope is that our gift will help take people off the street at night. Nobody should have to sleep on the streets,” he added.
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