Glen Hansard Teams Up With Focus Ireland and The High Hopes Choir to Show Human Faces Behind the Homeless Crisis
Singer Glen Hansard paid a special visit to Focus Ireland’s Coffee Shop in Temple Bar today to meet people and hear some of the human stories behind the homeless crisis.
The singer also teamed up with the High Hopes Choir to perform the song “Hey Day”” by the late Mic Christopher, the singer who was a close friend of Glen Hansard.
The High Hopes choir is made up mostly by people who were formerly homeless but now have their own home due to the work of Focus Ireland and other agencies. Glen spoke about his visit: “ It’s great to meet people who have overcome homelessness and now have a place to call home. It’s important to always remember that homelessness is a stage in someone’s life and not a destination.”
He added: “That’s why we wanted to sing “Hey Day” by my friend Mic as it’s a song about hope. It’s a beautiful song that asks why can’t each day be better or at least as good as the day before….that there doesn’t have to be one time in somebody’s life that is great and then it’s downhill. People who are going through tough times need something or someone to give them hope. To show them there will be some light ahead when they can leave the bad times behind.”
The singer’s visit comes as latest figures show a record total of more than 6,700 people homeless nationwide. This means there are now 1,173 families and 2426 children homeless nationwide. More than 1,000 of these families are in Dublin. Focus Ireland said that, while its family support team supports at least one family to move on from homelessness every day the reality is that inadequate prevention strategies means one or two other families become homeless that same day – so the crisis deepens. The charity said more can – and must – be done to end the nightmare of homelessness for so many families, children and individuals.
Focus Ireland CEO Ashley Balbirnie said: “Many of us are starting to think about Christmas when we can spend more time with family and friends and enjoy this special time of year at home. We all recognise that there is something deeply wrong with our society when nearly 7,000 people don’t have a place they can call home this Christmas. We are not just talking about numbers and statistics here. There’s a human face and a human story behind each statistic. Behind every figure is a real person…..a father, a mother, a daughter or son, …each of them suffering the ongoing trauma of being homeless and is hoping to find a better future.”
He added: “Our services are needed now more than ever so we can support families and children if they are homeless and also work to prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. Focus Ireland relies on public donations to help fund our 70 lifeline services that support over 12,500 people each year who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes. People can support our work at 1850 204 205 or mydonation.focusireland.ie/donate/~my-donation
Focus Ireland highlighted that a total of 89 cents from every euro it receives is spent on services to combat and prevent homelessness. Focus Ireland repeated is support for the Government strategy on homelessness but stressed that the crisis will only be brought under control when effective action is taken to reduce the number of families – and single people – becoming homeless every month.
Glen Hansard plays Vicar St in Dublin on Nov 28 and again on the 29th when it will be a special night featuring the songs of his friend Mic Christopher to mark the 15th anniversary of his untimely death in 2001.
Contact Michelle Moran – 086 468 0442 or Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117