Bishops: highest homeless figures and plight of rough sleepers necessitate immediate action

by | 25 Mar, 2024 | Bishops, Church, News

Earlier this month, at their Spring General Meeting in Maynooth, Bishops noted the latest data (23 February) from the Department of Housing, in Dublin, reported that the number of homeless people in the State has climbed to a new high of 13,531, including over 4,000 children.

Bishops stated, “we support the call of voluntary agencies on Government to invest the resources needed to address a preventable situation, which can have a lifelong impact on young people.

“However, these latest figures do not include the numbers of people who are sleeping rough, or of homeless asylum seekers.  We pray for the plight of vulnerable people who are homeless, or sleeping rough, in our cities and towns, that they may secure accommodation and a life with basic dignity.  We pray for everyone – wherever they have come from, and whatever their circumstances – forced to live along the streets with little or no protection from the elements or from anti-social behaviour.  People in need remind us of our duty before God to welcome and shelter those that require our help.  As Pope Francis said during his 2018 visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families: ‘in God’s house, there is a place at table for everyone.’”

Bishops expressed their deep gratitude to all volunteers and staff who work to help and protect those forced to live on the streets, including the many Church-based groups, and expressed the hope that the Government would give emphasis to the dignity of every human person in its commitment to addressing the crisis.

Regarding homelessness in Northern Ireland, Bishops noted that the social housing waiting lists are now totalling more than 45,000 people, with over 2,500 people in an acute state of homelessness.  Additionally, the cuts in funding to community groups over recent years have also negatively affected the capacity of many such groups working to assist people in need of housing.



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