Charities can't solve 'evil' crisis - Sr Stan
The homelessness crisis is the biggest national emergency since foot and mouth, a charity has said, as figures reveal that €134m was spent on emergency accommodation this year.
Sister Stanislaus Kennedy, the founder of Focus Ireland, said Ireland was not just in the midst of a homelessness crisis but a "human emergency" comparable only to the 2001 agricultural catastrophe.
"The last emergency was foot and mouth," Sr Kennedy told the Irish Independent. "This [homelessness crisis] is a national emergency. It must be seen as such, it must be responded to as such by the whole of society.
"We're trying, but the voluntary sector will never solve this. We need the whole of Government and society to solve this, we need to all be out on the streets.
"It is not only shocking, it is evil. We have mothers going into hospital, having babies and coming out to homelessness. I have huge concerns about what will happen to those children."
Meanwhile, the Peter McVerry Trust has said the Government could halve the cost of the homelessness budget by relying less on emergency accommodation. The bill for the Dublin region is running to around €134m this year, the charity revealed. It said the policy of housing the homeless in hotels, hostels and B&Bs was expensive and inefficient.
Around 1,138 families with 2,416 children were in emergency accommodation in or around the capital in September.
More than 3,000 children are homeless across Ireland but the total homeless figure for the country is a record 8,374.
Focus Ireland launched its Christmas Appeal yesterday. It announced that it had helped 300 families escape homelessness this year.
Sr Kennedy said: "This year we have over 3,000 children in B&Bs and it's not only awful, it's devastating and shocking."