As the homeless crisis deepens on both a local and national basis, a former Defence Forces member is determined to have a positive effect on the present detrimental situation with the creation of a social media campaign entitled ‘Midlands Affordable Accommodation’.
The Facebook page, which was originally launched by Stephen Lynch, as Athlone Affordable Accommodation, has, in recent times, changed names due to the expansion of numbers visiting the page from regional towns, now boasts in excess of 4,200 members and this figure is expected to rise.
Having endured ten months living in emergency accommodation in Athlone, Stephen endeavoured to create awareness of the homeless crisis and his thoughts came to fruition when he created the Facebook page which attempts to source affordable housing for those without shelter.
“The Facebook group has been a success to date and the numbers visiting the page continue to escalate on a daily basis, so much so, that I now have a team of nine working with me. The requests to house homeless individuals and families are continuous and on a daily basis, I would take numerous calls seeking help in this regard,” Stephen acknowledged.
Affording his time on a permanent basis to the cause, Stephen is working with local organisations and elected representatives continuously with the sole goal of reducing the numbers of homeless on the streets.
“When the Council is closed, those that are in need contact me and following a background check, I do my utmost to source and obtain temporary emergency accommodation, prior to the local authority providing necessary shelter. The support which I have received to date from the various local organisations and politicians has been much welcome as we all want to see our streets devoid of homeless people,” Stephen commented.
Stephen is in the process of establishing Midlands Affordable Accommodation as a registered charity and as members of the existing Facebook group continue to grow, he can foresee the social media page being renamed once again, as homeless people located throughout the country reach out for help.
“The page may be renamed in the future as Ireland Affordable Accommodation such is the unfortunate need for emergency accommodation. My goal is to help as many homeless personnel as is possible and I will work with all politicians from across the various parties to achieve this aim.
“I am completely dedicated to this work and we must persist with making the Government aware that this crisis needs to be resolved. Positive change must be initiated now,” Stephen emphasised.
Presently, Stephen is running a fundraiser through his Facebook page for Focus Ireland as he aspires to raise much needed monies for the charity, while on Saturday afternoon, he and his hardworking team will meet in Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon town at 12pm to plan future group endeavours, a gathering to which Stephen has extended an open invitation to local elected representatives and political aspirants.