A Place to Call Home
The United Dioceses of Dublin & Glendalough is supporting a programme which is providing ‘next step’ accommodation and assistance for people emerging from Ireland’s Direct Provision system. A Place to Call Home – The Diocesan Refugee Housing Appeal will raise €300,000 over three years to support the Refugee Accommodation Programme being devised by the Irish Refugee Council (IRC).
The steering committee of A Place to Call Home has worked with Greg Fromholz to produce this excellent video which highlights the aims of the project and the impact it has had for people who have benefited from the Irish Refugee Council’s accommodation and support initiative.
Please watch this video, download it, share it with your parish community, small group, school, youth club, where ever you feel it will have an impact. To download the video, click on the ‘share’ icon (looks like a paper airplane). Then click on the https link at the bottom which will bring you to the Vimeo site where you can download it. It is suggested that you download in HD 720 or HD 1080 to achieve the highest quality.
‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’—these familiar words of Jesus form the foundation for ‘A Place to Call Home’—the Diocesan Refugee Housing Appeal. With six months left of our three–year campaign we have raised €185,000 so far (as of May 31 2019). The dioceses have committed to raising €300,000 to support the development of transitional housing services for those exiting direct provision, developed under the auspices of the Irish Refugee Council.
We commend the hard work and generosity of parishes thus far in contributing towards the appeal and urge all parishes and individuals to add their support to the campaign to help us reach our target.
It has been heartening that people across the United Dioceses have not only taken up the challenge of ongoing giving, but also have found ways to engage around the issue of direct provision including welcoming some of those currently living within the system to avail of cooking facilities, going on outings in the community, and extending friendship in other ways. Awareness–raising, sustained giving and building human connections all go hand–in–hand.
We encourage you to continue your efforts toward the appeal. If you haven’t already engaged in the following you might consider some of these suggestions:
. Consider holding a summer event – a sponsored walk, coffee morning or similar activity to raise funds. You can download a customisable poster here.
. Consider holding a Harvest event. You can download a customisable poster here.
· Invite someone from the Irish Refugee Council to speak (click here for details) at a Sunday morning or mid–week service, Mother’s Union meeting, discussion forum, or a public event open to the wider community and designate the collection in aid of the appeal;
· Host a coffee morning, bake sale, ‘dream’ auction, concert, craft fair, sponsored walk, car wash, traveling dinner or similar event as a fundraiser;
· Designate Advent, Christmas, Lent or another seasonal collection for the appeal;
· Encourage parishioners to consider a monthly standing order for the duration of the appeal, ending December 2019. (In the case of Irish tax–payers who complete a CHY form this has the added bonus of allowing the dioceses to claim the tax relief!)
If you consider it appropriate you may wish to further encourage prayer and giving towards the appeal within your Sunday club or in the context of an all–age service.
To contribute to the appeal monies can be forwarded by cheque to: the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough, Church House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6 (marked Housing Appeal). Donations can also be lodged directly to: DIOCESAN FUNDS OF DUBLIN AND GLENDALOUGH, Bank of Ireland, College Green, Dublin 2, BIC: BOFIIE2D, IBAN: IE50 BOFI 9000 1769 3548 78, Reference: Housing appeal. Donations may attract a tax
A Place to Call Home – Background
The IRC is working with the Association of Missionaries and Religious in Ireland (AMRI) to acquire properties in Dublin and around the country that are being donated by various religious orders. These properties require renovation and that is where some of the money raised by the efforts of the people of Dublin & Glendalough will be used.
Once people have been granted leave to remain in Ireland, their first obstacle is to find a home to rent. The Refugee Accommodation Programme assists with this, thus taking pressure off existing State and charitable organisations dealing with homelessness. This project is not all about bricks and mortar. The IRC is adopting a holistic approach in its work with people coming out of Direct Provision.
People who have spent years in direct provision often become institutionalised. They may not know how to open a bank account or how to register for utilities such as gas and electricity. Others may need trauma counselling, English language courses and advice on job hunting. In short the project gives people a roof over their heads while they adjust to living in Irish society but also supports them and gives them the tools to become rounded and contributing members of Irish society.
The IRC is Ireland’s only national non governmental organisation specialising in working with refugees and people in the asylum process. At the moment 3,500 people, one third of whom are children, are housed and waiting in Direct Provision Centres nationwide.
Diocesan Councils, in response to calls to do something about the housing crisis made at Diocesan Synods in 2015, set up a working group to search for opportunities to help. Canon Horace McKinley, the Revd Olive Donohoe and Dr Sharee Basdeo carried out extensive research before selecting the IRC project which was approved by Councils.
To date 60 people have moved into their new homes thanks to the support of people donating to the appeal. Children have a place to call home and families have been united. People have also benefited from the assistance of the IRC in accessing education, employment, family budgeting, health, linking with support services, making social connections and language support.
There are currently over 686 (as of May 2019) who have come though the asylum process but who have been unable to move on from the direct provision system.
Watch this video of the ‘A Place to Call Home’ concert in Christ Church Cathedral in which Nick Henderson of the IRC and Nabil Allam who has benefited from IRC support talk about the project: