Newborn babies and pensioners among extra 100 homeless every night 

Neil McKittrick Salv Army

A major Dublin homeless provider accommodated an extra 100 people a night in 2021 compared to the previous year, new figures show. The Salvation Army is putting a safe roof over the heads of 500 people in the capital each evening, its 2021 annual report reveals. The church and charity supported 125 families through homelessness, providing 38,000 meals at its three family hubs – Houben House (Harold’s Cross), Greencastle (Coolock) and Clonard Road in Crumlin.

Several newborn babies were among those helped by the charity – with the eldest, a service user aged 71. “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,” said Regional Manager, Neil McKittrick. “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.”

In two of The Salvation Army’s three adult and emergency centres in Dublin, 149 men were supported, 16 of whom progressed to independent living. In the third, the Granby Centre on Granby Row, over 69,000 meals were provided in 2021. Covid-19 continued to hamper activities last year, causing “ongoing anxiety among both staff and homeless service users”.

Divisional Commander, Colonel Neil Webb, in his foreword to the 2021 report, said its centres in Dublin suffered minor outbreaks – and praised staff vigilance for saving more lives than it is able to estimate. 

The charity’s initiative with the HSE, which saw a rollout of vaccinations to service users, was described as 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,” said Mr McKittrick. “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 ensure it remains in place to care for anyone who is hungry, lost or alone. If you can help, donate here: or phone 0818 600 101.

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Sarah Brooks

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