Dundalk sleep out for the Simon Community
Storm Desmond didn't stop them last year and Maeve and Terry Curtis and their band of supporters didn't let it deter them from sleeping out on Friday night in the centre of town to raise funds for the Simon Community.
This is their fourth year doing the sleep out in aid of the charity which helps the homeless and they feel that the homeless crisis is greater than ever.
'We are a group of citizens who got together and decided instead of always protesting to do something positive,' explains Maeve. 'We approached the Simon Community as there is a homeless emergency in the country and asked them if they would allow us do a sleep out for them.'
'The first year we raised over €5,000, the second year over €7,000 and last year it was nearly €9,000 so we hope to do as well as that this year.'
Maeve is deeply appreciative of the support which they receive, both from those volunteering to join hem on the sleep out and all those who give money to their bucket collection.
Terry admits that they were concerned that the scandals surrounding national charities would affect people's willingness to donate money but that hasn't proven the case.
'Because the money goes locally we can show them what we do with the money,' says Maeve.
'I have to say this town an surrounding areas are brilliant supporting us. People are so good, many of them are struggling themselves and they give what they can. They know that the frontline workers were not the ones involved in the scandals.'
Maeve and Terry are passionate about the need to help those who find themselves homeless and would be sleeping on the streets but for the work of the Simon Community.
They point out that the homeless problem is getting worse, not better, with an increase of 30% in the numbers who haven't got a roof over their head.
'Homelessness is not all about people who are alcoholics or drug addicts,' she says. 'It's about family break-up and pressure on families,' says Maeve. 'Its about people in their 30s or 40s living at home, returning home with children.'
'Marriage break-up is a huge factor,' says Terry. 'The man can be put out of the house, if he loses his job, then he's at risk. You could have a young man, his mother remarries and he doesn't get on with her new partner.'