Merchants Quay Ireland launches urgent winter appeal as the charity extends its hours to meet growing demand
Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homeless and addiction charity, is seeking support for its winter appeal to help the growing numbers of people in homelessness and addiction. As the weather worsens, MQI will extend its hours to meet growing demand for services. The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that 11,397 people are now homeless in Ireland, the highest figure on record for the fourth month in a row.
Figures release by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive today show that Dublin has 8,087 individuals accessing emergency accommodation.
MQI Head of Operations and Delivery, Geoff Corcoran notes that the true homeless figures are likely much higher.
“The official homeless figures account for people in emergency accommodation. They do not include rough sleepers, women in refuges, people who are couch surfing, or those staying with friends or relatives. While the official figures are shockingly high, the reality is worse again.”
90 clients presented to MQI as homeless for the first time in October of this year, an almost 14% rise compared to October of 2021.
Corcoran goes on to note that as more people than ever face Christmas without a home, it is vital that MQI are there to support.
“As the number of people seeking our help grows rapidly, MQI will remain open until 9pm Monday to Friday over Christmas. Despite the rising costs of heating and electricity, we are committed to doing everything we can to help those who need us. For the majority of our clients, Christmas is a lonely time during which the grief of their situation is deeply felt. This, combined with wet, freezing weather conditions and darker days, means that MQI needs to be there to provide hot showers, nourishing food, healthcare, mental healthcare, and help with accessing accommodation, social welfare and other practical supports.”
Corcoran also notes that in addition to people struggling with homelessness and addiction, MQI is also seeing a rise in housed people seeking support.
“We are seeing more and more people who have accommodation, but who cannot afford the basics like food, hot water, and clothing. We are doing everything in our power to support these individuals, in addition to the growing numbers of clients who are homeless and those dealing with addiction issues. This Christmas, we are humbly asking for any and all support possible, as more people than ever turn to us to help them face winter without a home or access to basic necessities.”
MQI Client Christopher* has been coming to the Riverbank Open Access Centre on Merchants Quay for many years.
“I am homeless, and before I found MQI, I wasn’t able to cope with reality. It would all get too much. I came to understand why people committed suicide. The MQI staff are very genuine and the service is excellent. They always give me a great hand. Coming here at Christmas gave me a boost when I was terribly depressed — getting in out of the cold, having some food and some banter and a chat with the staff. I give them respect and they respect me back. It means so much when I’ve been feeling low.”
To donate, please visit www.mqi.ie/donate
Notes to the editor:
About Merchants Quay Ireland
Merchants Quay Ireland is the national charity working with people who are homeless and in addiction. The organisation provides services ranging from open access crisis intervention and health promotion services to day-support programmes, residential treatment, detox, and prison counselling.
The charity launched its 2021 Annual Review in October, citing:
- An 18% increase in demand for its services nationwide,
- The number of newly homeless people seeking support rising by 29% in the last quarter of 2021.
- The charity highlighted soaring property prices, limited rental opportunities and insufficient social housing as the key factors influencing the deepening housing crisis.
Sources for the statistics contained in this press release:
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
086 779 3206