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21st Nov 2016

Glen Hansard Has Teamed Up With The High Hopes Choir To Highlight Homelessness

Alison Bough

Oscar-winner Glen Hansard has teamed up with The High Hopes Choir to highlight the human faces behind the country’s homeless crisis.

The Commitments and Once star paid a special visit to Focus Ireland’s coffee shop in Dublin’s Temple Bar to hear some of the human stories behind the homeless crisis. His 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 and children.

Glen teamed up with the High Hopes Choir to perform the song Hey Day by the late Mic Christopher. The choir is made up of people who were formerly homeless.

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. 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.”

Ashley Balbirnie, CEO of Focus Ireland, commented:

“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.”

The organisation repeated repeated their 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 still becoming homeless every month.

Glen Hansard will play Vicar Street next Monday and Tuesday as part of a special night to mark the 15th anniversary of his friend Mic Christopher’s untimely death in 2001.

Do you think the government is doing enough to deal with homelessness? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter @HerFamilydotie