ONE of the largest voluntary organisations in the Mid West said they had “no idea” when they started their outreach service for the homeless how necessary it would become in Limerick.
Novas Initiatives, which works to help those who are most marginalised, is appealing for volunteers across a number of areas as demand continues to grow for their services.
“When we started our ‘street outreach’ service three years ago we had no idea how much of a necessary service it would become.
“What started as a soup run one night a week in the city has increased to a full street outreach service seven nights per week this Christmas, offering food and support to up to 20 people each night.”
The organisation said many of those people are “barely surviving in rented accommodation, squatting in run-down, abandoned accommodation, or ‘sofa-surfing’.”
They emphasised that this service is completely reliant on the commitment of volunteers as it receives no funding from Government. This year Novas opened the newly refurbished McGarry House, home to almost 70 people who are either homeless or trying to get back on their feet for the first time.
In the coming year, the services offered at Brother Stephen Russell House on Clare Street are set to change, with an upgrade of the accommodation offered there.
Some 350 children were on its Santa list to receive a surprise this Christmas. “This year has proven to be the busiest yet, with more and more families referring themselves as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.”
Any volunteers, toys, hampers or donations are welcomed by Novas, at their head office based at McGarry House, 7 Alphonsus St, Limerick. Please call 061 370325 for any queries or go to www.novas.ie for more details.