The issue of homelessness continues to be extremely controversial as our housing crisis worsens, rents continue to climb and first time buyers find most options outside their reach. Coupled with this is a government commitment to house international refugees. Despite various promises and new initiatives in the interim, statistics now show that there are more families homeless this winter than last.
Over recent weeks, a considerable number of new hostel beds have again been made available which should greatly help those who are sleeping rough. However, this still leaves many families in unsuitable accommodation such as B&Bs and hotel rooms without proper cooking or clothes washing facilities or direct provision centres in cramped, insanitary and undignified conditions.
In recognition of this ongoing problem of homelessness, the Archbishop launched an appeal last autumn and has made a further diocesan commitment of €100,000 annually for the next two years (making €300,000 in total). This initiative is a collaboration between the Irish Refugee Council (I.R.C.) and the Association of Missionaries and Religious in Ireland (A.M.R.I.). A.M.R.I. has been making available to the I.R.C. several of its properties. All these properties are requiring very substantial modernisation, updating and renovation in order to make them suitable for new and permanent accommodation.
The Select Vestry has agreed to support this appeal and the collection at our Carol Service will go to this cause. Recognising that aid is also needed internationally, our annual ‘Green Jar’ Advent Appeal will support the work of Bishops’ Appeal. For further information on their work please check out their website at www.bishopsappeal.ireland.anglican.org.