It's hard to walk through the streets of our cities and not notice that the number of homeless people is on the increase. That was the observation of our CEO at IMAGE, Clodagh Edwards, one morning as she crossed town to a meeting. It was 9am, the hostels had spilled out their transitory guests to the streets where they would attempt to find a place to stay the day - in peace and safety. She counted five people on one street alone. Her first thoughts were of how when we see similar sad imagery of such suffering in other countries on social media we jump to empathise, donate and alleviate the hardship we witness - if we can.
At home it's a different story though, these people are our people; they are stranded and suffering and as people rush through their days, our homeless people are becoming invisible. Of course, many help, and the charities are a wonderful source of solace and support when they can be, but they can't fix it all. They need a constant drive of fundraising and activism to illuminate the need. It is vital that we all know that the number of families becoming homeless in Ireland has doubled in the past year with one in four homeless people being a child. More than one family per day loses their home at the moment. These are chilling statistics. They can't and shouldn't be ignored.
So this October the 16th, Clodagh is joining the Focus Ireland Business Leaders Sleepout in Dublin where she, along with other professionals, will sleep on cardboard for the night with only cups of soup to keep them warm.
Yes, they will have slept in their own beds the night before, and they will the night after too, but it is a show of solidarity. It is something. These are steps in the right direction.
Each business leader is required to raise €5000 to take part, so given that 89 cent of each euro goes directly to benefit the homeless via Focus Ireland, it's plain to see that a large group of progressive philanthropists each raising 5k is a massive boost to the status of our homeless.
We all need to do something in solidarity, so if you feel you can, please pledge some assistance via Clodagh's fundraising page here.
As the saying went from the American emergency in the 50's?
'Give something. Give a damn.'