MQI launches appeal for urgent support, as the number of young people homeless in the state rises by 60%
Merchants Quay Ireland, the national homeless and addiction charity, has today launched its appeal for support to protect and develop their Young Person Support Programme, as the number of homeless young people in the State reaches a record high.
The latest figures released show the highest ever number of homeless people in Ireland. 10,568 people are now accessing emergency accommodation, among them 1,239 young people aged between 18 and 24. In the past year, the number of young people accessing emergency accommodation has risen by 60%. This percentage is expected to continue to rise as a result of the deepening housing crisis and growing cost of living.
The charity stresses that young people are of particular concern as they are extremely vulnerable and so there is an urgent need to protect, develop and expand MQI’s Young Person Support Programme. The programme provides one-to-one support, peer support, activities and weekly engagement.
MQI Head of Services, Geoff Corcoran says:
“While many of the young people who come to MQI come from care and/or have complex needs, we are also seeing a stark increase in young people who are working, but who may have been evicted, or who simply can no longer make ends meet. We must invest in appropriate services in order to catch these young people and swiftly support them out of homelessness. If we do not do this, we risk allowing them to become trapped in homelessness, and to potentially fall victim to a whole host of issues including addiction, criminality and health problems. MQI urgently needs the public to support us with donations in order to expand our Young Person Support Programme so we can meet this rapidly growing demand. We all have young people in our lives and can see the immense potential in each of them. We need to provide a service where we can help young people to grow their confidence, and take the next steps towards building the lives they really deserve.”
MQI client Cian fled an abusive home and ended up in the care system. Now 18, he is no longer in care, and trying to navigate the homeless system. Cian says:
“When I first became homeless, I was scared all the time. But when I came to MQI, and joined the Young Person Support Programme, I started to feel safe and positive about my future. On the programme, nobody has the same story, but everybody relates to something. It’s really helpful to chat to people who understand where I’m coming from. It makes me feel like I belong. I love football, I’d love to be a football coach, but I’d stopped going to training because I was embarrassed, and I had nowhere safe to keep my football boots. Now, my support worker is helping me get back to training, and get on a course. But I still don’t know what the future holds for me.”
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.
Last year, our Young Person Support Programme supported 129 young people between the ages of 18 and 24.
60% rise in homeless young people – figure released by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.
In order to protect the privacy of our clients, Cian’s name has been changed.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
086 779 3206