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Capuchins donate €5m to McVerry housing trust over 'growing crisis' fear

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Brother Kevin Crowley thanked the day centre’s donors. Pic:Mark Condren

Brother Kevin Crowley thanked the day centre’s donors. Pic:Mark Condren

Brother Kevin Crowley thanked the day centre’s donors. Pic:Mark Condren

The Capuchin Day Centre has donated €5m to the housing and homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust to acquire homes for people in need.

Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Day Centre said that "the growing homelessness crisis is a major concern to us".

"We provide shelter during the day where people can receive food, clothing, showers, medical care and other necessities for daily living," he said.

"The generosity of the public is what makes this place special and enables us to do all that we possibly can for those in need. The growth in families requiring our services is truly shocking and it troubles us greatly that children in our country have nowhere to call home.

Expertise

"Recently we have been looking at how, given the generosity of our donors, we can best respond to the crisis. We are not a housing organisation. We don't have that expertise.

"After careful consideration and advice, we decided to fund a housing initiative via Peter McVerry Trust to secure a minimum of 25 housing units for those in greatest need.

"We are always aware that our donors place enormous trust in us to determine how best to use our resources.

"We are grateful to every single person who has donated to us as it helps to care for and respond to the needs of those who use our service with a sense of respect and dignity."

In deciding to share the resources, the Capuchin Day Centre obtained the advice of the charities regulator to ensure that all the details of the donation were organised in line with best practice.

"We are familiar with the Peter McVerry Trust and we know the good work that they are doing, and we know that this is going to be put into very good use," Br Crowley told the Herald.

He said that he was saddened to see mothers and children "coming in here and then going off to a hotel in the evening time. That to me is appalling".

Every Monday, the centre gives out baby food and nappies to up to 300 families, while up to 600 people attend dinner at the day centre.

Meanwhile, Pat Doyle, chief executive of the Peter McVerry Trust, told the Herald: "We are an approved housing body, and they came to us. We put a plan together as to how we would use the money."

He said that the Capuchin Day Centre wanted to assist specific groups, including families in need in hotels and B&Bs, rough sleepers and care leavers.

The donation has already been made and the new social housing units sourced to date are all over Dublin and Kildare, Mr Doyle said.

Biggest

"It is a great initiative. The public are always asking, 'Why don't you work together more?' There is so much to be done. No one organisation has the key," he said. "It's the biggest single donation we have ever had."

He pointed out that both Fr McVerry and Br Crowley are recipients of the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

"It's a strong message," he added.