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Bishop opens 35-bed shelter for the homeless

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin been shown the kitchen/dining area by cook Paul Conroy at the new Crosscare homeless facility

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin been shown the kitchen/dining area by cook Paul Conroy at the new Crosscare homeless facility

Diarmuid Martin

Diarmuid Martin

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin been shown the kitchen/dining area by cook Paul Conroy at the new Crosscare homeless facility

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has opened a new 35-bed centre for homeless people in Dublin's north inner city.

The new facility has been made available only two weeks after the death of Jonathan Corrie just 50 metres from the Dail.

That tragedy spurred Dr Martin to offer a church property in response to the lack of emergency accommodation.

The new Crosscare facility will enable its 26 long-stay residents to have a permanent address for at least six months, and will offer an additional nine emergency beds every night.

Speaking at the opening, the archbishop warned the Government that it must find a long-term solution to the homeless crisis.

"The long-term solution is clear - we need affordable social housing," he said, criticising the use of hotels as an "unsuitable" solution to the needs of the homeless.

Welcoming the coming on-stream of the new accommodation, Dr Martin said: "If you don't have a place to live in today's society you are a nobody."

Separately, the Simon Communities have warned that countrywide commitments on homelessness are needed.

Launching its 2013 annual report, the agency reported a 41pc increase in numbers seeking help from its services since 2011.

crisis

Niamh Randall, the national spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the figures were a worrying indication of the depth of the homeless crisis.

The official rough sleeper count in Dublin recorded 168 people dossing on the streets, the highest figure ever recorded.

"This crisis is a national emergency affecting urban and rural areas," said Ms Randall.

In the Crosscare accommodation facility on Wednesday, 19-year-old John - who has been homeless for two years - described his new place as "amazing".

"Christmas came a lot earlier this year," he said. "I was living on the streets at first because I didn't know about the Freephone number that you call to get a bed for the night. The place I like best is the library - I like reading a lot. I would love to go back and do my Leaving Cert, and with a stable place like this it might be possible."

hnews@herald.ie


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