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Edmund Rice Schools Trust Students Calling for Action on Homelessness

Edmund Rice Schools Trust Students Get the New Year Off to a Resolute Start by Calling for Action on Homelessness

Young people don’t want to grow up in a country that can’t provide homes for all, secondary student activists say as they handed a petition of nearly 10,000 names to Minister Simon Coveney TD.

Secondary students from three schools in Waterford and East Cork got 2017 off to a campaigning start by presenting nearly 10,000 signatures to the Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney TD, so to register their concerna about the escalating numbers of people throughout the country who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 

The presentation took place on Monday, January 9th at The Carrigaline Court Hotel, Cork..

On the first day back after their Christmas holidays, students from Ard Scoil na Mara Secondary School in Tramore, CBS Midleton and Edmund Rice College Carrigaline, said that their resolution for 2017 was to keep homelessness in the public eye so that “the government has pressure put on it to continue to do everything it can to make homelessness history.” 

The students’ campaign – called "The One Campaign for Change" - grew out of the focus in Edmund Rice Schools on students knowing and learning more about social justice issues.  High Hopes Choirs (choirs for people who are homeless) from Cork, Waterford and Dublin will join them at the presentation.

The students have gathered the petition signatures, as one part of their campaign, to register their collective concern about growing up in a country that can’t provide basic housing for so many people, in particular children.  The students were particularly exercised when the number of homeless children climbed above 2,400 in the Autumn.  They are also aware that students in each of their schools are living in families at risk of losing their homes.

“One of the things we are trying to raise awareness about is the reality that homelessness is present in all communities throughout the country,” said Mark Hartery, a 16 year old 5th year student at Ard Scoil na Mara, Tramore, and one of the initiators of the campaign.  “It is something that is affecting families within our own communities, and in towns way beyond the larger cities.”

“We want to be, and believe we can be, the first generation that ends homelessness in Ireland.  We don’t want to grow up in an Ireland that can’t provide homes for people.  That is not the Ireland that represents us.  We were delighted to be able to meet with Minister Coveney to tell him what the next generation of voters hopes for,” he continued.

The students have been working to raise awareness about homelessness for over a year now.  In addition to the petition, they have been working with homeless organisations and people who are homeless to learn more about the complex reasons why people may find themselves without a home.  They have also participated in overnight sleep-outs, and have developed videos, books and other materials to keep the issue top of mind in their communities.

The students are available to talk about the campaign, why they started it and their hopes for solutions in 2017.

Please click on the following links - the first link is from RTE News and the second is an article from the Journal,ie

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