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COMMENT: A hotel is no place for a newborn baby

Monday, 18th November, 2019 8:00am
COMMENT: A hotel is no place for a newborn baby

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

COMMENT: A hotel is no place for a newborn baby

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

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Sr Stanislaus Kennedy

What does home mean to you? Many would say their home means comfort, safety, security. Sadly, not everyone has this.

The harsh reality is that three families lost their home in Ireland today. A number of individuals will have also become homeless on the same day.

Since I founded Focus Ireland in 1985, I have never seen it so bad. It’s shocking that a record total of 10,397 people are homeless and that nearly 4,000 are children.

The failure by successive governments to provide social housing over decades is at the root of our homelessness emergency. While building programmes have started, they have been slow.

The latest Dublin Economic Monitor, a joint initiative by the four Dublin local authorities, shows that housing completions in the capital are down nearly 14 percent since August. Although this is just one index, it’s worrying that we have not seen a dramatic increase in the delivery of more social and affordable homes.

The solution to this crisis is, in some ways, very simple – we need more housing. But this is not happening. It is wrong that any family or individual has to suffer the trauma caused by losing their home.

One young mother, Louise, who features in our Christmas appeal campaign, tells how her family lost their home while she was pregnant. She was then homeless when her baby boy was born.

She said: “My little Luke was born at 5.02am. But the first call I made wasn’t to family. It was to Focus Ireland.”

I did not ever think that things could get this bad but they sadly have. I am glad to say we were able to help Louise and her family to find a home, but it is truly shocking that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness. Hotel rooms are no place for newborn babies.

Focus Ireland is not sitting on the sidelines of this crisis; we make a difference. In partnership with the State and our generous supporters, we helped over 1,200 families to escape from homelessness and secure a home in the last two years.

We also provide 1,172 homes around the country. We are also working hard to continue to develop realistic policy solutions to help end homelessness.

The current situation would be even worse without the vital services and housing we provide at Focus Ireland. This means we really need public support now more than ever so we can be there when people need help the most.

Over the next few weeks, I am asking people to please give what they can afford to support our urgent Christmas appeal.

Our work will continue because it has to. This crisis must be ended. We must continue to provide a voice for the many people and families who are voiceless.

People can donate at or call 1850 204 205.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy is Focus Ireland’s Life President and founder.

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