The UCD Society of St. Vincent de Paul (UCDSVP) Homeless Week will be taking place from the 4th to the 6th of November. This annual charity event is to raise awareness and to raise funds for homelessness in Ireland. The main events of the week are nightly sleep-outs on the concourse outside the James Joyce Library. Students in the SVP along with anyone else who wants to take part will sleep on the concourse from 9pm for one or more nights during the week. The event was launched on Monday at 6.30pm with guest speakers talking about the issue of homelessness in the red room of the student centre.
The SVP is also encouraging any buskers that want to perform for the students sleeping on the concourse to come forward. These performances will be taking place from 12 to 2pm over the course of the four day period.
Along with the sleep-out, physician numerous other events are taking place under the concourse. An outdoor movie screening, here leg wax, sickness and a Father Ted marathon will take place over the course of the week before the nightly sleep-out. All of the above events are free, but the SVP has said that any donations will be greatly appreciated. A debate on the issue of homelessness will be held in the Fitzgerald Debating Chamber at 6pm on Thursday 4th November.
A charity clothes initiative is also taking place over the week and the UCDSVP are making an appeal for unwanted hats, gloves, scarves and sleeping bags. These items can be given to a member of the UCDSVP committee, who will be at the concourse all day and night during the week.
The Homeless Week has been taking place annually since 2008 and in that time has raised several thousand euro for the homeless of Ireland. Last year alone the Society achieved a target of €4000. The funds raised will directly support the SVP’s activities in coping with this issue, as well as providing a social event for participating students. These include soup runs and homeless shelters such as the Back Lane hostel in the city centre. It is one of the largest and most active student charity societies on campus.The SVP is attempting to tackle the problem of homelessness against a backdrop of economic recession and increasing number of people living on the streets every week. A census report was published in September 2012 on Homeless Persons in Ireland showing the total figure of homeless people to be 3,808. The figure for Dublin alone is 2,375, and there were 94 persons confirmed sleeping rough on the night of the most recent count in April 2013.
The SVP are welcoming students who want to take part in any of the events or make a small donation to the various members around the concourse during the week. Future events that the organisation are involved in include a charity skydive, homework and youth clubs, as well as hospital visitations.