Charities call for people to donate their Irish Water refunds to help the homelessness crisis
Will you be donating your Irish Water refund to help the crisis?
Three leading charities are urging members of the public to consider donating their Irish Water refunds to tackle the homelessness crisis.
The Simon Community, Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland unveiled the initiative called The Refund Project at a special launch event in Dublin this morning.
The charities have pointed out that almost 8,500 people are now homeless in Ireland, and more than 3,000 of these are children. The Irish Water repayment scheme will see €173m repaid to account holders in the coming weeks and the three charities are hoping that a proportion of the monies will be donated to deal with the homelessness crisis.
A special website was unveiled refundproject.ie has gone live on behalf of the three charities as part of the new national campaign,who will be the beneficiaries of the new initiative, and it is now accepting public donations.
A special oversight group has been set up, chaired by the former head of the Workplace Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey, who said that the initial public response has been hugely encouraging.
"When we first floated this as a concept earlier this month, we got a really positive public response.
"Thanks to a huge effort since then refundproject.ie is today a reality and we are now accepting public donations. The idea has caught the imagination simply because homelessness is such an enormous problem in this country today and we sense that ordinary people as well as wanting the State to act, would like to play their part too.
"We know almost 1m people are in line for Irish Water refunds and €173m is being paid back. We expect that some people would be open to donating that money to us as it could be of enormous assistance to the 8,500 people who are currently homeless in this country," said Mr Mulvey.
A host of newspapers and broadcasters are all offering free advertising space to refundproject.ie in the run up to the busy Christmas period, while public relations, web designers and advertising agencies have also provided their services free of charge.
Speaking to Independent.ie, Sr Stan who founded Focus Ireland urged people to donate if they can.
"This is a crisis," she said about homelessness.