“When a person finds themselves homeless for the first time, we need to be there”: Merchants Quay Ireland predicts growth in number of new homeless as it launches appeal to help fund Sunday service


Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), the national homeless and addiction charity, predicts a steady growth in the number of people becoming newly homeless in the coming months. The warning comes as MQI launches it’s Lenten appeal to help fund its Sunday service. 

MQI CEO Paula Byrne stresses the importance of the Sunday service in reaching those experiencing homelessness, particularly those who have become homeless for the first time: 

“Since last year, homelessness in Ireland has grown by a staggering 10%. The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that we now have over 9,000 people homeless and, in the coming months, with the lifting of eviction bans, the reality of COVID job losses setting in, as well as soaring rent prices and the cost of living continuing to rise, we are anticipating more people experiencing homelessness for the first time.”


Byrne notes that it is important to remember that people don’t just become homeless during working hours. “No matter when a person finds themselves homeless for the first time, we need to be there to guide them towards the support they need.  Life happens in the evenings and at weekends, so safeguarding our Sunday service is more important than ever.’

MQI’s Sunday service provides a welcoming, non-judgemental atmosphere, where clients can warm up and relax. As well as being one of the few places in Dublin city where clients can sit down to a free roast dinner, the service provides showers, clean clothing, and, crucially, crisis support to access accommodation. 

MQI Project Worker William Carroll highlights how a meal can be an important stepping stone towards secure accommodation and rebuilding a life for someone experiencing the trauma of homelessness. 

“These men and women may have slept out all night long, and if it’s their first time sleeping rough, they’re often scared. If we can get something warm inside them, offer them a shower and a change of clothes, then we can have a sit down with them and ask, “How are you feeling? What can we do?” Like all of us, if you’re warm and your belly is full, you’re much more open to a conversation than if you are freezing cold and hungry. It’s a no brainer.”


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.

MQI’s Sunday Service runs from 9.00am to 1.30pm. Clients can access hot food, showers, changes of clothing, phone charging, needle exchange and crisis supports such as help securing accommodation, and mental health support. 


Sources for the statistics contained in this press release:


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Laura McDowell

Communications Officer

086 779 3206
















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