Fr Peter McVerry SJ has been working with vulnerable young people in Dublin for the last 40 years.
During this time he has campaigned tirelessly for their rights. In 1974 Fr McVerry moved to Summerhill, in Dublin’s north inner-city, where he witnessed first hand the problems of homelessness and deprivation. There he came into contact with young people who were sleeping on the streets because of their home situation. He opened a hostel for homeless boys, aged 12-16, in 1979 and this subsequently became his life-time work He saw through the work of this hostel that when the boys reached 16 and needed to leave, they had few options open to them and most ended up back living on the streets. This realisation led him to set about providing services and accommodation for these older youths.
In 1983 he had founded the Arrupe Society, a charity to tackle homelessness which has since been renamed as the Peter McVerry Trust (PMVT).The charity has progressed from a three bedroom flat in Ballymun to eleven homeless hostels, over 100 apartments, a residential drug detox centre and two drug stabilisation services. The vision of PMVT is to support all those living on the margins and to uphold their rights to full inclusion in society.
As a social activist Peter is a strong advocate for those who have no voice in society. He has written widely on issues relating to young homeless people such as accommodation, drugs, juvenile justice, the Gardaí, prisons and education. He is a critic of government policy on issues such as homelessness, drugs and criminal justice.
Peter is based at PMVT’s Open Access Centre in Upper Sherrard Street, where he continues his ongoing work and campaigning on behalf those most vulnerable in society.