Thursday, 16th October 2014
- Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises awareness of the increasing problem of homelessness.
- Charity sleep out takes place on Friday 17th October 2014
Over recent years housing and social difficulties have led to a visible increase in the numbers of people who are homeless. It is important that as a society we are aware of this problem, that we understand the underlying causes of homelessness and that we take steps to provide viable alternatives. Focus Ireland’s Shine a Light Night 2014 raises important awareness of this increasing problem and I am delighted to be able to take part in this year’s event.
For many of us our impression of homelessness is of people sleeping rough in doorways and on the streets. However, this is only part of a much greater issue. There are families, single men, single women living in unsuitable, insecure and temporary accommodation all over Ireland. It is frightening to think that one in seven accessing a homeless service is a child. Tonight’s event is an opportunity for those of us taking part to highlight these issues and to contribute to the fundraising efforts of Focus Ireland.
I was very pleased this week when additional funding to help tackle homelessness was provided as part of Budget 2015. An additional €10.5 million will be provided for accommodation and related services for homeless people. This brings the annual spend on tackling homelessness to €55.5 million in 2015. The strong commitment by Government to developing social housing will help to ensure the availability of essential and sustainable long-term housing options that can help tackle homelessness.