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09th Jul 2020

This year’s ‘Shine a Light’ on homelessness initiative asks us to sleep outside for one night

Trine Jensen-Burke

Shine a Light Night returns for 2020 with an appeal to the general public to get involved.

This year’s Shine A Light Night initiative is calling on people all over the country to sleep out for one night and raise funds to help Focus Ireland’s vital services.  As a result of the Covid-19 impact on communities across Ireland, people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable than ever before.  With 8,876 people currently without a home in Ireland, Bord Gáis Energy is pleased to announce its continued partnership with Focus Ireland, to sponsor its annual fundraising initiative – Shine A Light Night.

Shine A Light Night will take place on the night of October 16 and this year members of the general public are encouraged to consider the initiative and sleep out in their gardens or homes, to raise vital funds to help alleviate homelessness.

On the same night business leaders will sleep out at the Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin and at Cork’s historic Spike Island and as always, companies around Ireland can also sign up to support the initiative by pledging to fundraise and sleep out at their workplace.

This year, Focus Ireland and Bord Gáis Energy are aiming to raise €1.3 million to support people experiencing homelessness across the country.  Since the event began in 2015 Shine A Light Night has raised over €5.3m for people experiencing homelessness in Ireland. In 2019, the support of Bord Gáis Energy as sponsors enabled Focus Ireland to help over 14,200 people.

Speaking on the launch of Shine a Light Night, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy, Catherine O’Kelly said: “Looking back on a challenging few months, Bord Gáis Energy has never been prouder of our partnership with Focus Ireland. As the country moved into lockdown, the efforts of the team at Focus Ireland enabled them to move 918 people into long-term homes in March and April alone. The team and I in Bord Gáis Energy are as committed as ever to supporting Focus Ireland in the crucial work it does to address the causes of homelessness and increase support for those who are at risk of losing their home.”

Speaking at the launch, Pat Dennigan, CEO Focus Ireland said: “Focus Ireland works tirelessly with people experiencing homelessness to help them secure their home or to ensure they leave homelessness for good. We also work extensively across the area of prevention to make sure many other families and individuals never become homeless in the first place. Since Covid-19 we have seen a fall in homeless, however, we believe the sudden lifting of temporary prevention measures – such as a rent freeze and ban on evictions – could result in a new surge in homelessness as the country reopens.

“In the coming months ahead, the support of organisations like Bord Gáis Energy is crucial to make a success of fundraising events like Shine A Light Night which will raise vital funds for our services across the country.”

You can find out further information or sign up to participate in Shine A Light Night 2020 here.