Cork residents urged to sleep in their gardens this weekend to raise money for the homeless
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Cork residents urged to sleep in their gardens this weekend to raise money for the homeless

A MASS sleep-out is being planned in Cork this weekend in order to raise money for the people living on the streets.

Homeless charity Focus Ireland are behind the initiative, which they're calling 'The Big Rebel Sleep-Out'.

The event has been run in public spaces for the past three years, but due to coronavirus lockdown that's no longer possible, so they've compromised and urged people to use their back gardens instead.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Dick White of Focus Ireland said that "the reality of homelessness is still with us" during the coronavirus crisis.

"Covid-19 will pass but now it's more challenging than ever to be homeless," he added.

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"[The Big Rebel Sleep Out] is one way of supporting people who have fallen into homelessness.

"It's for one night, putting yourself out and making yourself just a little bit aware of what it might be to have to sleep on the couch all the time."

People have also been asked to "couch surf" to raise awareness of hidden homelessness, those who aren't living on the streets but are without any place to call home.

Speaking about the impact of Covid-19, Focus Ireland regional manager for the Mid & South-West Ger Spillane said that those experiencing homelessness "are extremely vulnerable to the risks" of the virus.

"Not only are people who are experiencing homelessness more likely to have underlying health issues, they are unable to follow the most basic Covid-19 recommendations - stay at home and keep a social distance from other people," Spillane added.

"During these difficult times our work here in Cork continues and we need the support of the people of Cork now more than ever to allow us to continue our services through the wider Cork region.

"I will be playing my part by simulating a sleep-out in my own garden on the night. It;s an exercise of building awareness of the issue of homelessness while also generating much-needed funds to assist us to deliver our services."

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