herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fewer on streets, but homes crisis 'deepens'

Homelessness

Homeless crisis is deepening. Picture posed
Homeless crisis is deepening. Picture posed
burke

THE homeless crisis is continuing to deepen, despite a drop in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin, according to campaigners.

Dublin City Council's official count shows that there were 105 people sleeping rough on a night in April, compared to 158 people counted last November.

However, on the night of the count 46 people accessed the new night café, so these people were not sleeping rough but were also not using an emergency bed.

Homeless charities cautiously welcomed the decrease but warned that despite the apparent drop in numbers, the homeless crisis is escalating. Emergency accommodation, such as hostels or hotels, are becoming a more long-term solution for families, warned charities.

Sam McGuinness, CEO of the Simon Community, said that the 151 people counted either sleeping rough or in the night café was "phenomenal" considering emergency measures of 271 beds introduced before Christmas.

Temporary accommodation is now at capacity and the group estimates that the number of families living in hotels, hostels and B&Bs could rise to 3,500 by the summer.

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Dublin Lord Mayor Christy Burke

In December, following the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie just metres from the Dail, the Government agreed to a number of measures to try and combat the problem.

Mr McGuinness said these measures had reduced the numbers who are 'roofless' but that people were still sliding into homelessness at a rapid rate. Meanwhile, Mike Allen of Focus Ireland said that the Government must consider increasing rent supplements

Lord Mayor Christy Burke said that the "chaos" in the lives of people who were sleeping on the street needs to be tackled.

"The Government is wringing its hands on the issue, but the simple truth is it could stop more people losing their homes tomorrow with the stroke of a pen by raising rent supplement to match market rents," he said.

Problems such as addiction issues also needed to be addressed, he added.

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