EIGHT politicians across four parties have signed up to take part in a ‘sleep out’ challenge next month to raise funds for the homeless.
Among those taking part in the new initiative to highlight homelessness and hidden poverty in the region are Fianna Fail deputy Willie O’Dea, Fine Gael deputy Kieran O’Donnell, Mayor of Limerick Michael Sheahan, Sinn Fein city councillor Maurice Quinlivan, Fianna Fail councillor Joe Crowley and Independent councillor John Gilligan, amongst others.
Munster rugby players have also lent their support to the Simon Community, which is calling on the masses to sleep out in the Gaelic Grounds on Friday October 3, and individually raise at least €250 to help fund the services of the Mid-West Simon Community.
The organisation, which supports the homeless, is aiming to raise €100,000 this year for its services, through a sleep out’ challenge in the city and in other centres throughout the Mid-West.
“Our goal is not to replicate the conditions of homelessness, but only to highlight this serious crisis that is reality for so many, “ said Jackie Bonfield, manager of the Mid-West Simon Community.
“Some people are finding it difficult to raise the money, but some people are coming up with inventive ideas, such as offering a prize and holding a raffle to encourage people to give, “ she explained.
From 8pm to 6am, there will be entertainment to keep spirits high as temperatures dip, while there will also be designated quiet sleep zones in the grounds.
In Clare, hurling manager Davy Fitzgerald is to linedout, along with Deputy Timmy Dooley. Some 50 people have signed up in Limerick to date, including a team from Northern Trust, and over 100 people have now signed up for sleep-outs in the four venues.
It is hoped that over 200 will sign up across all centres. The challenge is to raise awareness of the hidden homeless’ living amongst us - many of whom have not come forward to seek help.
“They do not live on the street, but instead live by moving from friend to friend, relative to relative, never calling a place home,” she said. Similar events are also being held in Ennis, Kilrush and Thurles.
To sign up call 061 608980.