Cork Simon will 'pull out all the stops' to ensure nobody freezes on the streets tonight

Cork Simon will 'pull out all the stops' to ensure nobody freezes on the streets tonight
A man sleeping rough near the bus station in Cork. Picture: Howard Crowdy

CORK Simon will do their utmost to ensure people have somewhere warm to sleep tonight.

It comes as a status yellow cold weather warning has been issued for Cork, as well as for the majority of the country.

It will see widespread severe frost and the risk of icy patches overnight, while temperatures are expected to plummet to as low as -4 degrees Celsius.

Speaking to The Echo, Dermot Kavanagh, Director of Cork Simon said that on nights like tonight “we pull out all the stops and try to make sure there’s room for everybody.” 

This follows revelations that the country is facing into the worst homeless crisis in living memory this Christmas, according to Focus Ireland. 

There are now more than 4,000 children homeless nationwide.

“The worrying thing about how systemic homelessness is becoming is that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness. 

Two homeless people sleeping rough just off the South Mall in Cork City, Ireland. - Picture David Creedon
Two homeless people sleeping rough just off the South Mall in Cork City, Ireland. - Picture David Creedon

"Over 140 babies of the homeless families we are supporting were homeless when they were born,” Focus Ireland advocacy manager Roughan MacNamara said.

“It is terrible to think that a few weeks before Christmas, that is such a special time for children and babies. To think that they would be spending their first Christmas in cramped unsuitable emergency accommodation is awful,” Mr MacNamara said.

“We have seen babies that are unable to crawl as their living conditions are stunting their growth and development. We have child support workers who try and help them to reach their developmental milestones but due to a lack of funding, only 9% of the children we work with have access to a child support worker,” he added.

Focus Ireland issued new figures today showing it has helped more than 13,000 people between January and September this year. 

That’s a rise of 6% from the 12,270 helped in the same period in 2017.

The organisation hopes to raise €1.5 million in the Christmas appeal to support a new family centre which will open by the end of the year.

“It is not just a Dublin problem. The way things are going now, there are nearly 500 families and 1,000 children who are homeless outside of Dublin so it is a real sign that homelessness has just gotten worse,” Mr MacNamara said.

Mr MacNamara said Focus Ireland wants a "cast-iron deadline of six months" so that no family or individual will be homeless for more than six months. The organisation also called for the Government to develop a specific family homelessness strategy.

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