Homeless youths find safe space in new cafe
The Peter McVerry Trust has opened Ireland’s first youth cafe for young people experiencing homelessness.
Located on Berkeley Road, behind the Mater Hospital, it will provide free coffee-making facilities as well as computer and laundry services, storage space, TVs and a communal seating area with tables and chairs and couches.
The space will allow for shared group activities including music and comedy entertainment nights, but also counselling services, life skills sessions and help in finding accommodation.
“This service is incredibly important as it provides a safe and supportive space to vulnerable young people,” said CEO Pat Doyle.
The service was developed to accommodate the requests of homeless young people for out-of-hours services and will be rolling out evening and weekend hours as well as day services as it continues.
“They clearly told us they needed somewhere they would be welcomed, somewhere they could go and relax during the day and evenings when they might not have anywhere else to go,” said Mr Doyle.
The trust expressed thanks for the support from donors and capital funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Clongowes Union.
However, it warned that the growing issue of youth homelessness needed to be addressed at government level.
“The unfortunate reality is that we are likely to have 2,500 young people aged 24 or younger in homeless services by Christmas,” said Mr Doyle.
“We would urge the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla to play a much more prominent and proactive role in helping children and families experiencing homelessness.
“The Peter McVerry Trust now has families contacting us on a daily basis, and the risk is that every child who enters homelessness now will be negatively impacted and need years of support from the State to recover.”