Over the next couple of weeks we will all rush to the high street, splash the cash on presents for loved ones and indulge on food. In doing so, we overlook those that may not have loved ones, a roof over their head or food in their stomach, the homeless.
As part of a 3 blog series, I will focus on the homeless crisis in Dublin City Centre, researched through my participation with the Charity “Humans Too“.
Humans Too were founded through a group of Dublin college students who sought to make a difference to the life’s of people who are homeless in Dublin City Centre. During the week, Humans Too take to the main streets of both the north and south side of Dublin to provide the homeless with food, tea/coffee/soup, clothing and sleeping bags – the essentials to get through the harsh winter conditions. Soup runs commence from a Monday to Wednesday between 20:00 – 22: 00, with the hope to begin runs from Thursday to Sunday. Can you donate 2 hours a week to help the homeless? 8% of your day? Or 1% of your week?
‘Great work guys’ – Passer-by on the street on Tuesday 24th November
Taking the step to volunteer and take time out of your evening is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Over the past number of weeks I have volunteered on a Tuesday evening from 19:30-22:00. Humans Too are located on 56 Aungier Street, or just behind Cost Cutter. The first activity you will do is either prepare the food (Sandwiches/Soup) or sort the clothing (Socks, Hats, Jumpers etc.). The group will be split, tackling the north and south side of Dublin city centre.
On the North Side, you will walk through the streets of Temple Bar, across the Ha’penny brigade, up Jervis Street, along Henry Street before sweeping back along O’Connell Street.
On the South Side, you will cover the area from St. Stephens Green shopping centre to Kildare street.
Whilst on the run you actively seek to identify the homeless. Approaching the homeless can be a daunting prospect as you are not quite sure what reaction you may get. To date, I have had the same response, a warm welcome. Even if the person does not want a cup of tea, or food, they always appreciate you stopping to ask. Some of the people quite like a chat, others just want to be left alone. Taking the time to stop and offer your assistance is always welcomed. Nobody has ever asked for money. One thing that I came across that surprised me was the amount of sugar the homeless like in their tea and coffee, 3-4 sugar spoons full! I suppose it gives them an energy boost, which when added to the warm beverage, always helps.
The Face of Homeless
To date, most of the people we come across are male. There is no age demographic, and no clear reason why the person is homeless. I will discover some of these reasons later on in my blog. There is no anger or frustration on the faces of the people, they are content.
The cost of the roof
What difference does 50c – €1 make to your day? You might spend €3-4 on your Starbucks coffee. The cost of a hostel for the homeless starts from as little as €5 for the night. Hostels are not the preferred option due to drug abuse that can plague some of the more affordable hostels. A safe, warm roof for the homeless on a cold Dublin night can start from as little as €10. The next time a homeless person asks you for 40c to afford a hostel, think about it, instead of walking on. 40c won’t make much of a difference to your day, it will make their day.
In the next part of my series covering the homeless crisis I will get the views of those on the streets. I will look to uncover their story, their views, their feelings. I want to give them an unbiased voice.
Want to get involved? Get in touch…