Saoirse Women’s Refuge to stage 16-hour sleep out

By Mary Dennehy

SAOIRSE Women’s Refuge, which could not accommodate 190 families seeking shelter in 2017, is building awareness on the number of mothers and children who end up in homeless hubs after fleeing their homes from domestic violence.

Based in Tallaght, Saoirse is this month raising awareness around another side of the housing crisis through a 16-hour sleep out on the grounds of IT Tallaght.

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Saoirse staff members Orla Kelly and Jessica Gamble 

The refuge is attempting to build awareness around the knock-on effect the housing crisis is having on families forced to leave their homes due to domestic violence.

According to Orla Kelly, Saoirse Assistant Manager, very often these families end up in homeless hubs as they cannot access a place to stay on the private-rental market or through the homeless HAP scheme – due to demand.

The 16-hour sleep out, which is being staged on November 28 from 5pm to 9am, also hopes to raise much needed funds for Saoirse’s new refuge in South Dublin County.

Last year, Saoirse, which provides short-term accommodation for women and children, a 24-hour helpline, outreach support and a therapeutic playroom, could not accommodate 190 of the families that contacted them for refuge due to a lack of space.

The new premises has been purchased by South Dublin County Council but will be run by Saoirse, which is trying to raise money to kit-out the new refuge’s six, en-suite rooms and communal living areas.

“We are trying to build awareness for the women and children fleeing their homes,” Ms Kelly said.

“These families very often end up in [homeless] family hubs… and this is another side to the housing crisis that we don’t hear about.”

She added: “We are also hoping to get our second refuge opened in early 2019 and need funds to get it kitted out.

“All the money raised through the sleep-out will go towards the new refuge.”

Make a donation

The team at Saoirse are inviting local businesses to sponsor a room in the new refuge or make a donation to support them in providing a safe and comfortable place for families to stay.

Any business that can offer support through the donation of items is also encouraged to get in touch.

The 16-hour sleep-out is part of a number of initiatives being run by Saoirse in November and December as part of the Women’s Aid 16 Days of Action Campaign against domestic violence.

The base for the sleep-out on Wednesday, November 28, is the IT Tallaght campus and anybody who would like to take part is asked to contact Orla Kelly on 4630400 or email admin [at] saoirsewomenrefuge [dot] ie.

Call Saoirse’s 24-hour helpline on 4630000.

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