Focus Ireland has made an urgent appeal ahead of the Christmas period as homeless numbers continue to rise.
The homelessness charity is asking for donations to its projects including the Focus Ireland Coffee Shop in Temple Bar, which is open every day of the year and will be open on Christmas Day to serve dinner to families and people homeless in Dublin.
The charity’s flagship service first opened in 1985 when Sr Stanislaus Kennedy first founded the leading housing and homeless charity.
Focus Ireland Services Manager John O’Haire told Independent.ie that the charity's centre in Temple Bar has served over 40,000 meals this year and helped over 7,000 people.
"It is awful to see anyone homeless and to see families with their children coming in to us at this time of year every evening is terrible. We really do depend on donations now more than ever so our services are here to help people and can cope with the constantly rising demand.
“It really is heart-breaking to know that some of these children have been born into homelessness. Some of them will spend their first Christmas with their family forced to live in one little room together. They are our children too and we have a duty as a society to provide a safe home for them. We have a duty to protect the childhoods of these children and to make sure they do not suffer from being homeless for long periods of time.”
One family who are homeless and living in hotel emergency accommodation feature in Focus Ireland’s Christmas appeal.
The mother Fiona wrote in a letter about how the family are struggling but Focus Ireland’s help has made a big difference.
“We have our case manager from Focus Ireland and I don’t think we could have coped with it all without her and Focus Ireland. They help us a lot.
“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I can’t cope. I can’t believe we are still in this situation. But I know I can talk to our case manager at any time for a shoulder to cry on. My children love all the Focus Ireland staff. They almost feel like family now.”
People can donate to Focus Ireland’s urgent Christmas appeal at www.focusireland.ie or PH 1850 204 205