Homeless support needs jumped by 50% during 2011, says Limerick-based charity

THE number of people seeking support from Novas Initiatives has show up by almost 50 per cent during 2011.

THE number of people seeking support from Novas Initiatives has show up by almost 50 per cent during 2011.

As the recession continues unabated, the Mulgrave Street charity has found its homeless support services more in demand than ever.

With Christmas being the toughest time of year for many families. Novas Initiatives has renewed its appeal for toys for needy kids.

The Mulgrave Street-based charity provides services to a number of different strands of society.

In particular, they provide emergency accommodation to homeless men, women and children.

This support takes the form of immediate services like food, a warm bed, a listening ear, as well as access to GP services, mental health services, addiction services and other interventions

But the charity also works with young families, many of whom face huge financial pressures and cannot even provide one gift for their kids.

This is where Novas comes in: they are appealing to members of the public to take part in their annual toy appeal.

If you are interested in taking part, you will be allocated a child or youngster, and provided with their age and gender in order to help you select an appropriate gift.

To ensure anonymity, each child will be given a numerical reference so they can be identified by the charity.

You are then asked to buy a gift for that child, and deliver it to Novas’ office at 1 Mungret Street.

In 2012, Novas wants to increase the availability of long-term supported accommodation in the city, with an extra 32 beds being made available in its Alphonsus Street centre later this year.

In effect, this will move 32 people off the homeless register.

But the charity has expressed fears that with government cutbacks, they will be forced to cut their own cloth to measure. To this end, public support is vital. With less than a week to go until Christmas day, any donations will still be gratefully received - and will make a huge difference to a family in Limerick.

If you would like to volunteer your time, a toy, a hamper, or a cash donation, it would be very welcome. For any queries, contact 061-468033.

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