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Charity housed extra 100 people a night in Dublin last year

Several newborn babies were among those helped by the charity, while the eldest person was aged 71

Stock photo: Getty© Getty Images/EyeEm

Salvation Army regional manager Neil McKittrick. Photo: Salvation Army Ireland/PA Wire© PA

Gráinne Ní AodhaPA Media

An emergency accommodation provider has said it housed an extra 100 people a night in Dublin last year compared with the previous year.

The Salvation Army’s annual report shows that it provided shelter to an average of 500 people a night in the capital in 2021.

It said it supported 125 families through homelessness and gave out 38,000 meals at its three family hubs – in Harold’s Cross, in Coolock and Crumlin.

Several newborn babies were among those helped by the charity, while the eldest person was aged 71.

It comes amid fears about the welfare of people sleeping on the streets this winter, as forecasters advised caution amid Ireland’s first cold snap in three years.

Sub-zero temperatures and freezing fog have caused disruption for motorists and people flying abroad.

“On any given night, we can have up to 500 people across our six services in Dublin, as we work with our statutory funders, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and Health Service Executive,” regional manager Neil McKittrick said.

Salvation Army regional manager Neil McKittrick. Photo: Salvation Army Ireland/PA Wire© PA

“We continue to support a range of individuals and families across our services. We do all we can to prepare them for their return to the community.

“Some are only with us a short time; some longer. We always have people moving on and new residents moving in, so the actual number of people we support is higher than that.”

Concerns have been raised about the squeeze the rising cost of living will place on people on lower incomes this winter as they try to pay rising energy and grocery bills.

In his foreword to the 2021 report, divisional commander Colonel Neil Webb said the centres in Dublin suffered minor Covid outbreaks.

The report said Covid-19 hampered activities last year, causing “ongoing anxiety among both staff and homeless service users”, but the charity’s involvement in the rollout of vaccinations to service users was a “resounding success”.

“Like everyone who works to support vulnerable people, our universal position is that we strive so that, one day, the services we provide will not be needed,” Mr McKittrick said.

“However, as long as people need our support, we will do all we can to support them. Hopefully, homeless figures will reduce, and we can play our part in making that happen.”

The Salvation Army is asking people to support its Christmas appeal to help its work supporting those in need.


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