Saturday 24 August 2019

'The homeless crisis isn't just in Dublin' - desperate family turn to priest for help to find home

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Sarah Mac Donald

Desperate househunters are seeking divine intervention in a bid to help them find accommodation.

Clonmel priest Fr Michael Toomey appealed at all Masses in the parish of St Peter and Paul over the weekend for urgent help in finding a house for a family to rent.

The couple and their two children are currently homeless through no fault of their own.

Fr Michael told the congregation the man is in full-time employment and volunteers in a local charity.

The unusual step is an indication of the desperation that many families are facing into as the homelessness crisis continues to escalate.

The young couple, who wish to remain anonymous, had been renting a house up to very recently with their three-year-old daughter and they were expecting a second child.

However, the owner of the property contacted them earlier in the year to ask them to vacate it.

"Their situation is truly heart-breaking," Fr Michael told parishioners. The family approached Fr Michael last week, desperate to see if he could help in any way.

He also asked why there are so many vacant houses, some owned by the council, when there are people like this family left walking the streets.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, the priest hit out at bureaucracy and red tape surrounding the housing crisis.

Acknowledging that the housing department in the council is stretched and under pressure, he also questioned why there was such a "lack of empathy".

"I made the appeal to highlight that the homeless crisis isn't just in Dublin - it is happening everywhere, it is a national emergency," Fr Michael said.

"This could happen any of us who are renting a property - we could be asked to leave through no fault of their own.

"We have a food bank in Clonmel to feed people who are homeless.

"To have a food bank in Clonmel in this day and age is scandalous. It is a whole system breakdown."

Irish Independent

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