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Focus Ireland Simon Community Peter McVerry Trust

Charities Join Forces in Public Appeal to Donate Water Refunds to Tackle Homelessness

National ‘Refund Project’ Campaign to be Launched

Three of Ireland’s best-known charities have agreed to join forces and form a national campaign to ask the Irish public to consider donating their refunds from Irish Water to tackle the national homelessness crisis in Ireland.

The Simon Community, Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust are planning a major national fundraising campaign to coincide with the upcoming Irish Water national repayment scheme which will see €173 million handed back to almost 1 million account holders over the coming months.

The 3 charities intend to launch “The Refund Project” - a national advertising and public information campaign asking people who can afford to donate, to consider the plight of Ireland’s over 8000 people who are homeless, in excess of 3000 of which are children. The new group say that even a fraction of the total repayments could help make an enormous difference in the delivery of much needed housing.

A special oversight group is being formed to spearhead this unique joint initiative, chaired by the former head of the Workplace Relations Commission, Kieran Mulvey. Mr Mulvey, who recently authored the Dublin North East Inner City Regeneration Report, says this campaign will be a simple but compelling appeal to those who can afford it, to play their part in combatting the homelessness crisis:

“Homelessness is the greatest social problem facing post-recession Ireland. Focus Ireland, Peter McVerry Trust and the Simon Community are at the forefront in trying to deliver much needed investment in housing infrastructure for the thousands of people who currently have no place to call home. We know that almost one million people are in line for Irish Water refunds and we believe that some would be open to donating their money to such an important initiative. There will be one million refunds and a total of €173 million being handed back – that could be of enormous assistance to over 8000 people who are currently homeless in this country.

This initiative could create a lasting and more positive outcome to the negative legacy of the recession years and provide that most fundamental of rights - a home”

Speaking jointly today, the 3 homeless charities said: “For many, including those struggling to keep a roof over their heads, the refund of water charges will help making ends meet. For others who are more fortunate it will be a welcome windfall and it is to those that we will direct this appeal. The issue of homelessness is very complex but everybody has a role to play – government, charities and society. It’s important to stress that this will not lessen in any way the responsibility of government and policy makers to drive forward the national homelessness strategy. For our part – we are coming together to create a national charitable campaign to enable the public to easily donate their refunded monies towards this hugely worthwhile project.”

Further details will be announced in the near future as to how people can donate and the types of projects that their money will go towards.

Media Contact: Iarla Mongey - Q4 PR / iarla@q4pr.ie / (087) 2356461