herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Act now and give homeless in hotels back their 'dignity'

Sr Stan has urged action
Sr Stan has urged action

A leading homelessness campaigner has said that Dubliners who lived in the tenements were afforded more dignity than families forced to share a hotel room.

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, who has worked with the homeless community for decades, said something must be done urgently to stem the flow of people into homelessness.

Awful

"It's not that they are in a B&B. They have one room and there might be three, four or five children. They have no place to play, no place to cook," she told the Herald.

"They don't mix with others. It isn't like having a room in a hotel. It's awful.

Housing Minister Simon Coveney has consistently said the Government's new policies on homelessness will need time to work, but Sr Stan said more urgent action is needed.

"Really, they have to think about something immediately to stop the flow," she said.

"Secondly, they need an immediate response to people, to provide them with a decent place to stay where they can live with dignity.

"It's about rent, really, and something needs to be done about that. Otherwise, the numbers will just increase and increase.

"A year ago I was here saying this. This is the job of the politicians - that's what we elect them for.

"I hear people say, 'Sure, aren't they grand', but it's not like you or I taking a room in a hotel. It's totally different.

"Go back to the worst days of the tenements where you had all of the families living in one building.

"At least they had the dignity of a community. They knew each other, they grew up with each other.

Community

"This is totally different. They are in rooms separated from other people. It's quite different."

Sr Stan was speaking at the launch of Focus Ireland's Christmas Appeal, as the charity revealed its teams have helped 230 families and almost 450 children in Dublin to secure a home this year with the help of the homeless executive.

Donations to the charity can be made at focusireland.ie or by calling 1850 204 205.

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