Peter McVerry: Life and Work 26/11/12

Fr. Peter McVerry

Peter McVerry began his priestly ministry in the inner city of Dublin in 1974. At this time he came into contact with young people who were sleeping on the streets because of the inadequacy of their home situation.

In 1979 he opened a hostel for homeless boys, aged 12-16, from the inner city. He is still a member of the Board of Management of this hostel. It is now fully funded by the Health Board. It was as a result of his experiences with boys leaving this hostel at 16 or 17 years of age and having nowhere to go, except back to the streets, that Peter McVerry set about providing services and accommodation for this older age group.

Since early 1990s, the Health Boards have been given statutory responsibility for the under 18 age group which means that services have improved and, while still far from perfect, most homeless young people in this age group are reasonably well catered for. However a shortage of appropriate accommodation and services for the over 18s, who have no legal right to any accommodation, has created a crisis for this age group, who if they are not helped and supported at an early stage, become much more difficult to help. It is the 18-25 age group that is now the primary focus of Peter’s time and attention.

In 2005, Peter’s operations were re-named The Peter McVerry Trust. The Trust now provides two hostels for the under 18 age group, three hostels for the over 18 age group, one drug detox house and two aftercare houses. Each house or hostel caters for 6 or 7 people at a time. The Trust also provides twenty apartments to those seeking to return to a normal lifestyle, while still receiving support from The Trust.

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