Want to help the homeless? Then spend some money
IF you want to the know the real story on most issues you have to go to the coalface and ask those operating there.
In the case of the homeless crisis affecting Dublin the person to go to is Brother Kevin Crowley (below).
Last Sunday morning I listened as Br Crowley, who works at the Capuchin Day Centre in the inner city, was being interviewed on radio.
I had met him on a number of occasions years ago when I was a detective attached to the Bridewell Garda Station and I know he's a man whose word should be heeded.
Br Kevin spoke powerfully about the work of the Day Centre. He spoke movingly about the plight of the homeless and the 700 people he provides a meal for on a daily basis.
The dismal picture he painted was heartbreaking.
He gave the heartbreaking example of one young mother who was forced out of her home and was now living with her children in a car.
He didn't pull any punches when he questioned successive governments' commitments on tackling homelessness.
He particularly questioned the vast amounts of money being spent by various organisations on this issue, and how this money was being spent.
Br Kevin also gave a startling insights were into what he called 'the new poor' - middle-class families that area barely managing to hold onto their homes.
Br Kevin has worked for many years on the streets. He knows the effect of homelessness and indeed its causes.
As such he must be listened to.
The more I listened to him the more I realised that the current Government's election promise to eliminate long-term homelessness was just wishful thinking.
After the recent scandals affecting some elements of our charity sector Br Kevin's comments were a breath of fresh air.
Both him and his colleagues at the Capuchin Day Centre work for a truly inspirational organisation, one which embodies real Christian charity in action.
The Centre's running costs are at €2.3m a year.
The State provides a paltry €450,000 of this, and the rest has to be raised by charitable donations.
And all this in a country where some former politicians get massive pensions.
What a great little country we have. The Government wants to tackle homelessness?
It should star by increasing its subvention to the Capuchin Day Centre.