It’s time again to wish you a happy New Year. In thanking you for your support in so many ways, I would like to bring you up to date on some of our past years’ activities.
We continue to meet up to 40 men and women each morning – the majority sleeping out – we meet new people weekly. Showering, nursing care, advice, advocacy, referral and friendship etc contribute to our holistic health service. 300 – 350 outfits of clothing are given out free monthly as part of above – all donated apart from underwear & socks, which we purchase. Going on current second-hand shop prices, this would amount to well over £200,000 per annum.
We continue to have the services of a chiropodist, optician, dentist and local G.P.’s available to us.
People continue to die on the streets and many known to us passed away during the year, some in appalling circumstances. These deaths go unnoticed, as families – if any – feel guilty and the stigma of homelessness persists.
We had contact with relatives of people who use our services throughout the year – some trying to locate family members, others made contact when a long lost family member died.
Our work would not be possible without the goodwill of many in voluntary and statutory agencies, the business community, rotary, church and other groups and ordinary members of the public countrywide.
We have continued our educational role meeting specialist groups and have made submissions to relevant government agencies where appropriate.
Our National Education Initiative aimed at getting students to think about exclusion and how society regards outsiders, was a tremendous success. The project featured a special web-site and information on the project and winning essays can be seen there along with data on ongoing events (press releases etc.) www.trust-ireland.ie. We are currently working on a schools project to be launched in the Spring.
More funding than ever before has been made available for housing and more people have been employed to work in the field, however, we continue to see homelessness as a very complex problem that cannot be solved by housing alone. To suggest this can be isolating, but it reaffirms our belief in the role of education and that society must always have a place for the outsider.
We acknowledge the contribution being made by those in the media and encourage them to continue looking behind the statistics at the humanity of the people who find themselves homeless. A full-page article on our work in the Sunday Tribune led to an unprecedented response from all sections of the community – a copy is attached for your information. A radio documentary on RTE 1 also elicited a great response.
- The Minister for Health Michael Martin T.D. visited us
- Councillor Christy Burke – Chair. of Acute Hospitals and Primary Care Committee, Eastern Regional Health Authority also visited.
- A short presentation by A.L. Director of TRUST during the Labour Party Leader Ruairi Quinn’s televised address at their National Conference was widely acknowledged and commented upon. TRUST has no political affiliations, but welcomes all opportunities to present its’ concerns to all political parties.
We keep hundreds of people out of hospital annually by delivering primary care in a holistic way – it’s extremely difficult to quantify this work in the current climate. We are concerned about the emphasis placed on ‘performance indicators’, and the ensuing pressure on all involved to ‘succeed,’ especially on people who are homeless due to their inability and reluctance to conform – this pressure will only help to make sure they stay away and remain on the streets.
The manner in which personal and sensitive information is elicited, stored, and shared – ‘data collection’ – without due regard to the rights of individuals to confidentiality – particularly in the area of healthcare, is of ongoing concern to us. The lack of informed debate around these issues is leading to alienation of service providers in voluntary and statutory sectors, and ultimately, this will effect service provision particularly in the area of primary healthcare.
Student gardai on social placement proved to be mutually successful and continues.
Our esteemed Chairman – Professor James McCormick – stepped down this year but remains on as Trustee. He is succeeded by Dudley Potter (Solicitor).
At a time when there are diverse views on homelessness and emphasis is on settlement and success our biggest challenge is to retain the personal touch, and to do this well we believe we must resist the temptation to expand.
We are satisfied that TRUST helps to make life easier for some of the most disadvantaged people in our city and beyond. Everyone in TRUST would like to thank you for making this possible.
Alice Leahy – Director & Co-Founder – TRUST