Home Sweet Home donations to go towards "sustainable projects"

Just under €190,000 was donated to the campaign during the Apollo House occupation over Christmas

Home Sweet Home donations to go towards "sustainable projects"

Home Sweet Home t-shirt outside Apollo House in Dublin. Photo: Rollingnews.ie

The Home Sweet Home campaign has insisted it is working continuously to decide how best to use the donations received during the occupation of Apollo House.

Accounts released by the group in February showed that just under €190,000 was donated to the campaign over the Christmas period.

Yesterday Dublin’s Lord Mayor called on the campaign to donate any remaining funds to existing housing charities that have the experience to ensure the funds are put to the best possible use.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Home Sweet Home spokesperson Freda Hughes said the group is working with grassroots homelessness and the housing organisations - and will ensure the money goes directly to the homeless.

“We are left with just under €129,000 and it is now about using that remaining money to support those most affected by homelessness and by the housing crisis and to prioritise sustainable projects that will help them in the long term,” she said.

“We have tried to start a lengthy process of taking contributions and opinions from all that were involved – all decisions are always made collectively so as you can imagine this is a somewhat slower process than if we had a top-down hierarchical setup.”

Public good will

In his statement yesterday Dublin’s Lord Mayor Brendan Carr said there has been no evidence since January that the group is, “doing anything constructive with the public good will and the funds it raised.”

He called on the campaign to “do the right thing” and donate the money to any of the charities that have been working for decades to break the cycle of homelessness.

“These monies need to put to use now,” he said. “They should not be kept unproductively in an account or used for other political purposes.”

“There is a housing crisis in our city - I believe it is immoral and indefensible that funds that are available to assist those in dire need are not being put to use doing that.”

Sustainable project

Ms Hughes said all the hard goods that were donated have already been passed on to other organisations – adding that the campaign wants to ensure that the money goes directly services on the ground.

“We are accepting proposals,” she said. “We can only hope to supplement the good work of the many charities like McVerry’s, like Merchant’s Quay, like those groups like Focus Ireland,” she said.

She said the group had considered a range of ways to use the funds - and is determined to ensure they can be put towards a project that provide benefits in the longer term. 

"We are looking at a sustainable project rather than a quick thing that will burn brightly," she said.

“This was a direct action, so now it is about making its impact sustainable and creating reliable and suitable supports.”

The group spent nearly €61,000 between December 16th and January 24th - largely on security services and heating. 

The campaign provided accommodation for over 205 homeless people over the course of the occupation of Apollo House in December and January.

You can listen back to Freda Hughes' full conversation with Paul Williams here: