THERE IS a “worrying increase” in levels of depression and anxiety among the homeless and poor in Dublin, one of the foremost advocates for the sector has said.
Br Kevin Crowley, who runs the Capuchin Day Centre in Bow Street, Smithfield, Dublin, said it was particularly acute among the “new poor, people who have lost their jobs and are really desperate, who are on the verge of losing everything.
“People are very worried and it’s the not knowing, the worry. It’s increasing and is very much a new thing. It’s very worrying.”
The day centre serves about 200 breakfasts and 500 hot lunches a day and hands out about 1,000 food parcels of basic groceries, such as butter, tea, canned foods, sugar, bread once a week, on Wednesday mornings.
Br Crowley was speaking yesterday morning as a group of about 30 gardaí and prison officers set off on a two-day cycle across the State to raise money for the centre. The cyclists rode to Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, yesterday and are due to complete the journey to Belmullet, Co Mayo, today.
He said he hoped the venture would “raise awareness about the increasing issues of homelessness and poverty”.
People tended to contribute donations after the cycle, he added, and it was hoped that about €10,000 would be raised.
Running costs for the centre are increasing and stand at about €1.3 million a year at present. A grant of €450,000 comes from the HSE annually, with the rest raised though fundraising.