The Home Sweet Home campaign of volunteers, artists and trade unionists has released its accounts to date. The campaign raised well over twice the monies (€189,000) it has needed, a large proportion of expenditure arose from the hiring of professional security for the Apollo House occupation. This was in light of undertakings necessary to secure a stay on an evacuation order issued by the High Court on 21 December 2016.
The Home Sweet Home campaign took a stand in Apollo House, to say that we can no longer tolerate the crisis of homelessness in this country, which is a direct result of the housing emergency. The people of Ireland stood with Apollo House, an occupied NAMA building which was converted into a shelter for homeless people and run entirely by volunteers, through their public expressions of support, through their offers of their time, and through their donations. This support enabled the biggest sustained action this country has seen in decades, and the continuation of a campaign to end homelessness and for the right to housing. The campaign began with Apollo House, but it will not end there.
Oisín Fagan of the Irish Housing Network who ran the ‘Go Fund Me’ account stated:
“Thanks to these donations and public support Home Sweet Home provided a wonderful Christmas and New Year for people who had previously slept on the streets and also secured 6 month, 24 hour beds for over 90 of our most vulnerable. As volunteers we have worked hard to help where the state continues to fail and we hope donors with genuine questions or concerns will contact us directly through our facebook page for Home Sweet Home.”
Spokesperson Brendan Ogle added:
“As Trade Unionists, we along with the Artists watched in awe as the public and volunteers joined to build a people-powered initiative that has shone a necessary light on our housing emergency, on Government failures, and on the enforced limitations on existing charitable structures. No volunteer, Trade Unionist or Artist gets paid anything from Home Sweet Home. The campaign has no ‘CEO’ or Ministerial salaries to bear.”
Home Sweet Home has already announced it will be a “permanent feature in the nation’s housing debate” and so a conference – HOME SWEET HOME THE NEXT STEPS – will take place on 18 February 2017, where formalised structures will be announced and put in place.
(Mattress) Mick Flynn who donated much of the bedding for Apollo House has stated his intention to continue lending his support for the campaign:
“as one of the first, of what turned out to be many, business people to support this necessary intervention; I am thrilled with the transformative effect it has had on so many lives, and I look forward to working with Home Sweet Home in now pushing the campaign to the next level.”