Last year, Ireland was among world’s top countries on the Human Development Index (HDI). The nation was in eleventh place in the ranking. This means that Irish people had a good standard of education, health, wealth and equality. However, there is a disturbing reality: you can see many people on the streets begging for money. Many of them have this sad fate because of drug addiction, job loss or family problems. Homeless people find themselves in these appalling situations and their only alternative is to ask pedestrians for few pennies.
James B. (27) has lived on the streets since September last year. James was wrapped up in a blanket to protect himself against the cold. He said: “I’ve no other option besides asking for money. If not, I can’t eat, I can’t survive. I can’t wait for government aid.”
John C. (54) stated: “Things have gotten worse in this country. You can’t find a decent job these days like years ago. It’s better to beg for money than stealing money.”
Without a roof over their heads, they have to strive against hunger and, in some cases, violence. In order to provide permanent housing options, supports, preventive services, the Dublin Simon Community (DSC) supports the homeless and helps them to rebuild their lives. This institution provided services to more than 3,000 people in Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness. Aoife Mulhall works for Mental Health Department, she remarked: “At Simon, we listen to people who turn to us for help and do everything we can to support them to move out of homelessness into independent living”
Due to their poor living condition, some homeless people can suffer from mental illness or addiction. In one survey carried out in 2013, DSC revealed that out of 163 homeless people who looked for its assistance, 63% suffered from depression, 46% from anxiety, 11% from schizophrenia and 11% from psychosis. To provide mental health assistance every year, Dublin Simon Community receives 52% of Statutory funding and 48% is received from fundraising.
Dublin Simon Community’s goal is to create a more positive future for homeless. Aoife pointed out: “We strive to empower people to access, secure and retain a home of their own by reducing the reliance on short-term emergency accommodation and providing permanent supported housing for people to sustain a home in their local community.” She added: “Moving people into supported housing produces life-enhancing and life-saving results and is more cost-effective in the long run.”
By Maira De Gois