The pandemic created greater uncertainty and insecurity for many families forcing them to seek shelter, food and support for the first time from social care agency, Crosscare, Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin has said.
n a letter to parishioners to be read out at Masses, Dr Farrell has asked people to support the annual fundraising appeal for Crosscare, which takes place this weekend.
He said last year, Crosscare’s Homeless Services accommodated 750 individuals, couples and families while 3,000 people who were homeless or at risk of losing their home were helped by its Information and Advocacy teams.
The agency has highlighted that some families, who previously did not need support before, turned to Crosscare for help for the first time in 2020.
However, according to its annual report, overall income for the charity dropped by €410,000 last year while the Crosscare’s grants were down by €762,000.
Despite increased demands on many of Crosscare’s services in an exceptional year, the agency was forced to take “stringent” measures to contain expenditure resulting in a decrease in spending of €1.82m. Funding for essential services from the State dropped to €20.436m in 2020 compared with €21.197m in 2019.
In his letter, Archbishop Farrell said people who are homeless and in need continue to rely on Crosscare for shelter, food, help and support. “Every day, people in need of support are welcomed by Crosscare in a spirit of respect, dignity and love.”
When the Covid crisis began at the start of last year, Crosscare services were stretched to capacity. The charity provided 100 extra beds for homeless people to ensure compliance with social distancing and health guidelines. Demand for food in Crosscare community cafés and community foodbanks has remained high throughout the pandemic.
Crosscare’s CEO, Conor Hickey said 2021 was proving to be another challenging year as demand on services increased. “Sadly, the Covid crisis particularly affects the most vulnerable,” he said.
Last year, Crosscare’s Homeless Services accommodated 750 individuals, couples and families while 3,000 people who were homeless or at risk of losing their home were helped by its Information and Advocacy teams. The agency also supported thousands of children and young people through its Youth Services, Teen Counselling and Drug and Alcohol Programmes; 9,500 people from 122 countries sought help from Crosscare’s Refugees and Migrant support service and 60,000 support phone calls were made to elderly and isolated people.
Crosscare’s chairman, Frank O’Connell, said much of the agency’s work is with people who are homeless and struggling to find accommodation. Crosscare runs seven homeless services and many of those the agency support, need help with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health problems.