Bishops have expressed their concern at the rise in homelessness across our country. They were speaking following their Winter General Meeting which concluded in Maynooth today.
Bishops said, “According to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, there are almost 90,000 households waiting for social housing in the Republic of Ireland – and over 2,000 children living in homeless accommodation in Dublin. The latest official count by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive has found 142 rough sleepers on the streets of the capital, an increase of 56% over the past year.
“Many dioceses have undertaken special initiatives for the homeless and people in need this Christmas. Since December 2014, the Archdiocese of Dublin has provided accommodation for 30 homeless people, operated by Crosscare. The Archdiocese is currently in negotiations with Dublin City Council and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive with a view to providing two other premises for emergency accommodation.
“The social teaching of the Catholic Church informs us that each person, regardless of his or her economic or social position, racial or faith background, must be treated with full dignity. Sadly this Christmas there are tens of thousands of people living in our parishes who are in crisis, struggling with rents; with no food in the cupboard; no heating in their home and in need of fuel and basic clothing. Such families are living in cramped conditions in hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, or desperately trying to hold onto their tenancies in the private rented sector.”
Bishops strongly commended the work and generosity offered by the thousands of volunteers who are working to alleviate the suffering and indignity faced by these families.
“Especially in this season of Advent as we prepare for Christmas, bishops ask the faithful to pray to the Holy Family – who were themselves homeless – for the intentions of those are homeless. Bishops ask all people of goodwill to support, in every that they can, homeless agencies in their work towards building a society where homelessness, and poor housing, which are an affront to human dignity, are eradicated forever.”