St Vincent de Paul (SVP) volunteers are providing support to many families in danger of homelessness as calls for help to the Society remain at record level despite the improvement in certain sections of the Irish economy.
At the launch of the SVP Annual Appeal by RTE’s Ryan Tubridy the Society said that providing help to families in danger of becoming homeless and those living in hotels and B&Bs ‘emergency’ accommodation is currently an ever increasing part of its work.
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It also says that overall calls for help are at a similar level to last year but this is still 100% more than 2009.
Kieran Stafford, SVP National Vice-President said “Support for our Annual Appeal is crucial to allow us to help families with essentials such as food, education and energy bills. This help allows many families struggling on low incomes to be able to meet increasing rental costs.”
“SVP is often the first port of call with volunteers working with families to relieve acute financial pressure and give them the space to breath and increasingly avoid homelessness. Visiting families in their homes allows our volunteers to see at an early stage when meeting increasing rental costs are placing an extreme financial burden on such families” he said.
Dealing with the level of calls for help being received by SVP Mr Stafford said that while the overall numbers remain static on last year there are variations around the country.
“In the East Region for example calls for assistance are up 4% on last year but in other Regions they are marginally down. For yet another year our volunteers will visit about 140,000 people throughout the country between now and Christmas“, he said.
This year the SVP Annual Appeal will focus on the message “Say Yes to St Vincent de Paul because your help can last a lifetime.”
Kieran Stafford said; “It can still take just one small problem to tip a family into a crisis. We want to emphasise that we are here primarily to help people over a hard time and sometimes that is sufficient to ensure that they don’t slip into long-term poverty. We know that a little help at the right time can change everything for someone in crisis.
“Most of those who seek the support of St Vincent de Paul are struggling week in and week out on a basic minimum income, either from state payments or from low-paid employment. It is when they encounter an unexpected cost or a period when additional expenditure occurs, such as Christmas, that they critically need SVP which now spends an average of €40m per year in direct assistance, primarily on food, energy, education, clothing and furniture as well as toys at Christmas.
“We depend almost entirely on donations from the public and corporate supporters in order to be able to provide this help. We ask people who want to support our work to please say yes to our Annual Appeal by giving locally or online” said Kieran Stafford”.
Nichola Mullen, Head of SVP Fundraising, said that in addition to making donations directly there are other options to support the SVP at www.svp.ie/appeal. These include Virtual Gift, Giving Tree & Food Appeal opportunities.
Companies can order their SVP Christmas Ecards or organise their own fund-raising events for SVP.
Already the diversity of organisations planning campaigns to support SVP includes;