The homeless are being targeted by money lenders while queueing for food at soup kitchens, a charity has warned.
Louisa Santoro, CEO of the Mendicity Institute, said that people in Dublin waiting for food were being watched and approached by the lenders.
“The first time we heard about it, it was by someone asking us to help repay €70 where they had borrowed €50,” she told Newstalk.
“And it seems this is fairly easy to do in the [soup] queues, in and around some of the food tables.”
The news comes just days after UCC’s student union said that it was experiencing record demand at its foodbank.
Communications and engagement officer Maeve Richardson said that many students can no longer afford to live on the grant, even if they also have a part-time job, because of the high cost of fees, living and rent:
“So many students were coming to us and saying to us they were experiencing financial hardship to the point they were experiencing food insecurity.”
“With the rents we have, we need either a rent freeze or a rent reduction on this island,” she said. “No student can fully support themselves with a part-time job.
“I just want to stress, the majority of the students who come to us are engaged in part-time work. They are not looking for a handout, they are doing everything in their power to ensure they can live the best life they can by working and by studying.”
President of the Union of Students in Ireland Clare Austick said that many colleges in Ireland ran food banks for students - something she says shows a need for the Government to reduce the cost of living for students.
“We really need to see commitment from the Government to invest to reduce the student contribution charge, to build purpose-built student accommodation that is affordable and to invest in student support services,” she said.
Main image: A homeless man begs for money. Picture by: Yui Mok/PA Archive/PA Images