“When I founded Inner City Helping Homelessness there were actually more volunteers than homeless but it changed quickly, and not because we had fewer people to volunteer… We would do fundraisers, me and my friends, every year but seeing the number of rough sleepers growing we decided to do something more practical and actually go out and feed people. At the start, it was just weekends, but later on, it grew so big and people donated so much that we just couldn’t stop. Today, five years in, we have over 187 volunteers working with us on any given day and there is only one person getting paid, working full time. We are out, completely voluntary, seven nights a week doing what we can. I remember, one evening we came across this fella sitting on the ledge of O’Connell Bridge. He was a foreign national who we engaged with many times over the past years. He had a chaotic life where he was not provided with accommodation and his needs were not supported by homeless services. It took me ten minutes to convince the guards to let me talk to him. I ended up talking to him for about half an hour and he finally came down from the bridge. All he wanted was a promise of a bed for the night. This guy was willing to kill himself because he didn’t want to spend one more night on the streets. Homeless people are very vulnerable so if you make a promise it is devastating if you break it. I promised him I would get him a bed. Unfortunately, that bed was in the police station that night, but he didn’t mind at all, he was actually happy to have it. The next day we went and put him on a list for three months where he could sleep in the same bed every night. I love what I do but, the day there are no more hours for volunteers I will be delighted and I will thank God that I can get my free time back. I’m trying to work myself out of a job but unfortunately, this is not the case.”
This is Anthony Flynn, CEO of Inner City Helping Homelessness. Anthony was nominated and shortlisted for the ‘Best Dub’ category as one of the 16 categories for 98FM’s Best of Dublin Awards.
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