SVP expects to help over 6,000 local households during Christmas

By Mary Dennehy

MORE than 6,000 households across local communities will be supported by St Vincent de Paul this Christmas, with pressure on the charity increasing as it moves to assist families living in hotels and those sleeping rough.

At least €170,000 will be spent by the charity in feeding, clothing and keeping warm more than 6,000 households across the communities of Tallaght, Clondalkin, Ballyfermot, Lucan and Palmerstown this festive season, with food and fuel poverty still starving many individuals and families not just at Christmas, but all year round.

Homeless person 15 December 2016

Traditionally, SVP has provided food hampers, vouchers, clothes and fuel to households in need and, while continuing with this support, the charity is also adapting its services and assisting families living in hotels and people sleeping rough within communities.

Marie Cronin, of SVP, told The Echo: “Food poverty is still a huge issue and we’re finding now that there can be more than one family living in a house.

“The housing crisis has seen adults moving back to their parents’ houses with their own children and households simply cannot support the number of people living in one home.

“Overcrowding is a serious issue and what’s worse, is that these people are forgotten about by the Government – and no one is working to support them because they’re not officially classed as homeless.”

She added: “The number of people sleeping rough has also increased and we’re working with local gardaí in identifying people and putting together food and clothes hampers, which are then delivered by officers.

“We’re also supporting a lot of families living in hotels, many of whom are going hungry due to alack of cooking facilities and no money to eat out all of the time.

“There is so much poverty across the communities that we serve – the conditions that some families are living in is just awful. I don’t know if the Government actually realises how bad things are in communities.”

Ms Cronin stressed how SVP is doing work that should be carried out by local authorities and the Government, with the charity trying to buy carpets for council homes that have nothing but concrete floors.

“We’re working so hard to make sure that no family goes hungry or is cold this Christmas,” Ms Cronin said.

“We have had to adapt our services this year and are planning to open – with support from Crosscare – food banks, like the one in Tallaght, in Clondalkin and Ballyfermot early next year.

“We’re also looking at opening cafes beside the food banks for families struggling and those living in hotels.

“Families will be given food vouchers and be able to get a free hot dinner with their children after school each day.

“We are trying to think of ways that we can support children and their parents . . . and we have also started a pilot project in local communities where we are linking in with and working alongside community organisations and soup kitchens to make sure that we are making the best use of resources and not overlapping.”

Ms Cronin encouraged anybody who is struggling and in need of help to pick up the phone and call 01 8550022 or drop into their parish priest.

Donations can be made at any SVP shop or to donate money or other items call the head office on 8550022 or visit the SVP Giving Tree in the Liffey Valley shopping centre.

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