“The Galway homeless crisis hasn’t gone away; in fact the need for our services is greater than ever.”
For nine years, COPE Galway has been rallying business leaders to join together in solidarity against homelessness through its biggest annual fundraising event – The COPE Galway Business Sleep Out.
The event aims to raise awareness of the issue and raise funds to support COPE Galway’s Homeless Services. Each participant is asked to raise €3,000 to take part in the event – last year a record €185,000 was raised thanks to the generosity of the Galway community, who supported the business leaders and got behind the event.
“This year COPE Galway is signalling that the homelessness crisis in Galway has not gone away; in fact the need for our services is greater than ever,” said Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway’s Head of Development.
She explained, “The divergent effect of COVID-19 on incomes has exacerbated problems associated with homelessness. Our staff have worked hard to reconfigure our homeless services to respond to this crisis. For example, we have increased our capacity by 39 additional ensuite bedrooms for single people experiencing homelessness”. She said, “The extra capacity will also serve our cold weather response this winter as well as provide isolation spaces suitable for homeless adults with symptoms of COVID-19”.
In 2019, COPE Galway worked with 1,189 adults and 433 children affected by homelessness, (187 families and 868 single people). This work helped find and retain long-term housing and prevent homelessness within our community. With many support services now online, COPE Galway is also finding new ways of working with homeless families living in their Family Hub, and B&B/hotel accommodation, to help these families continue to access the supports they need.
Business Sleep Out Founder and COPE Galway board member, Hannah Kiely, said, “For each of the past eight years, business and community leaders across Galway have come together to spend a night outdoors to raise awareness and funds to support people affected by homelessness in Galway. The event has raised €850,000 since it began in 2012.
“It is with the continued support of Galway’s business leaders that we can provide men, women and children with the support and advice they need to have a safe warm place to sleep”.
Sharon Fitzpatrick added, “Without doubt, COVID-19 will challenge us to do things differently this year but this is a cornerstone event on our calendar and we are committed to rethinking the business sleep out so that it can go ahead in its best possible form.”
If you / your organisation would like to take part in or support the COPE Galway Business Sleep Out please contact Sharon Fitzpatrick, COPE Galway Head of Development on 091 778 750.
Further information: copegalway.ie/sleepout
COPE Galway Background:
COPE Galway is a local Galway organisation whose vision is for a community where every person is valued, cared for and supported at every stage of life. COPE Galway understands, respects and responds to the needs of people who struggle with the challenges of homelessness and domestic abuse and supports older people towards healthy and active ageing.
In 2019, COPE Galway worked with 2,984 vulnerable people in Galway. This included 1,189 adults and 433 children affected by homelessness, (187 families and 868 single people). They also worked with 638 individual women and their children who were experiencing Domestic Abuse, produced and delivered 61,016 meals to older clients and to their services around Galway and worked with 724 older people at risk of isolation. The organisation also supported 2,938 individuals with food from the Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived (FEAD) Programme and distributed over 700 school kits.
COPE Galway’s new strategy for 2020-2025 focuses the organisation on its mission: Making a difference by empowering people, creating change and strengthening communities. COPE Galway places its values – rights, respect, hope, community, safety and professionalism – at the heart of its work in the community.