huge demand | 

Manager of centre for homeless says levels of hardship worst he has seen in 50 years

Capuchin Day Centre boss says number of people in poverty just keeps growing

Some of Dublin’s homeless talk to the Sunday World

Patrick O'ConnellSunday World

The manager of a day centre for homeless people has described the levels of hardship being experienced in the capital as the worst he has seen in 50 years.

Manager of the Capuchin Day Centre, Alan Bailey, told the Sunday World: “It’s worse now than it was during previous recessions.

“The number of people struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table just keeps increasing.”

The centre handed out 2,800 tickets for Christmas hampers on December 14.

“When we were giving out the tickets for the hampers, we were mobbed,” he said.

“People had been queuing since 4.15am.

“In 50 years with the centre, I have never seen anything like that.

“And the same day we had 644 people for dinner and gave out 1,300 food parcels.

“Most weeks we’d be giving out 1,100.

“Those are parcels of food people can take home with them.

“This time last year, because of Covid, we were doing takeaway meals.

“But the numbers just keep increasing and a good part of it is down to the cost of living crisis.

“The demand for our services is just huge.

“And a lot of it is to do with where people are finding themselves at the moment.

“The margins for people are so fine and they just don’t have the money to pay for everything they need.

“We see this and we deal with it as best we can.

“But it’s getting worse.

“There is always a demand for our services.

“Even at the height of the Celtic Tiger, we had 500 or 600 people coming in a day.

“But now it seems that the slightest change in people’s circumstances is driving them into poverty.

“It just doesn’t take a whole lot when people are already struggling.”

According to the paper ‘Poverty Focus’ released by Social Justice Ireland in October, “one in every nine people in Ireland lives on an income below the poverty line — corresponding to almost 595,000 people.

Although data for the period 2016-2021 demonstrates that the headline poverty rate in Ireland has fallen, the paper noted that “anti-poverty interventions need to be sustained; something that has been lacking in recent budgetary policy.”

It also noted that the “impact of inflation is most severe on lower-income households” and warned that “short-term budgetary measures, while welcome, will increase inequality if income adequacy is not properly addressed.”

Donations to the Capuchin Centre can be made by phone (with credit cards) at (01) 8720770 or alternatively those wishing to help can email info@capuchindaycentre.ie


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