"It has been truly devastating for our staff to see the growing number of older people arriving in emergency services and trying to navigate a system that is incredibly tough on young bodies at the best of times."
In the face of some alarmingly statistics on homelessness in Ireland, Dublin Simon Community has begun a Christmas Advertising Campaign with pro-bono creative partner BBDO. The campaign aims to raise vital funds and awareness of an emergent new cohort in homeless services; older and elderly people.
New studies show that there's been a 30% increase in the amount of over 65s entering emergency accommodation. For those aged between 45 and 64 there's been a 26% increase over the same period. These increases are incredibly stark and alarming; the number of those in the 65+ cohort has increased by 50% and those in the 45 – 64 age group has increased by 88% during the last five years.
Head of Fundraising & Communications Aisling Harmey says this of the worrying increase:
"Homelessness is tragic and traumatising at any age. For older people, that tragedy and trauma is compounded by the physical, mental and social challenges that come with age. At present, people are spending longer than ever before in emergency accommodation due to the chronic ongoing lack of social and affordable housing. No one should have to live in homelessness, and undoubtedly, no one should have to live their latter years in homelessness.
"It was from this place that we conceptualised this campaign; to raise awareness of this growing problem with the hope of affecting real and positive change for this incredibly vulnerable group of people. For some people, this campaign may be shocking, but the problem is shocking. Older and elderly people becoming homeless warrants the utmost alarm."
The campaign also aims to raise awareness on those on the brink of homelessness; they are not reflected in these statistics.
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Header image via Buck & Hound via Dublin Simon Community