The Salvation Army, which is accommodating 96 families experiencing homelessness at its family hubs this Easter, is appealing to the public for support.
The Christian church and charity runs three hubs in conjunction with Dublin City Council, where families stay before moving to longer-term accommodation – Houben House at Harold’s Cross, Clonard Road in Crumlin, and Greencastle, Coolock.
“One of those staying with us is a man in wheelchair in his 70s, who is here with his granddaughter, who helps care for him, and her baby,” said Emma Gillan, Programme Coordinator at Greencastle Hub.
“After his wife died, he lived alone in the small flat they shared. But his landlord sold the property, and he had nowhere to go.
“At the other end of the spectrum, we have a young woman who is fleeing poverty and conflict in her homeland on the other side of the world.
“She arrived here with two small children and whatever clothes she could carry. She does not speak English and had no idea where she and her children could get a bed for the night.
“We have been able to help her in one of our hubs, where each family has a room and bathroom, sharing a kitchen and laundry facilities.
“We also have a playroom for children, and activities such as art classes. This Easter, with restrictions lifted, we hope to hold our traditional egg hunt.”
Salvation Army family hubs are designed for short-term accommodation.
“In their time with us, we make their situation as comfortable as possible, and help families explore options to secure long-term housing,” said Neil McKittrick, Salvation Army Regional Manager.
“That includes teaching skills to support families returning to long-term accommodation.”
The Salvation Army provides safe beds for 500 people at the moment, and annually the organisation provides 120,000 bed nights a year in Dublin, as well as a wide range of additional services for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness.
In 2020, more than 28,000 meals for adults and children were served, and hundreds of food parcels were distributed by the three family hubs, which also provide cookery classes, tips on healthy eating, exercise, quiz nights and spiritual support.
The organisation promotes the improvement, regeneration and rehabilitation of people who are destitute or vulnerable and operates in over 100 countries worldwide.