herald

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Fourth homeless death in a week sparks calls for action to end crisis

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Four homeless people have died in a week amid mounting calls for the Government to do more to ease the accommodation crisis.

Just before midnight on Tuesday, a 26-year-old living in emergency accommodation in Dublin 8 is believed to have taken his own life.

Officers from Kilmainham Garda Station were called to the incident.

Last night, the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive confirmed the latest death, saying: "The DRHE is aware of the death of a person who was accessing homeless services.

"The DRHE will not be commenting any further except to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased."

Devastating

The tragedy follows the death of homeless mother-of-two Danielle Carroll (27), who took her life at Leixlip House Hotel in Co Kildare last Wednesday.

The following day, Stephen 'Jack' Watson was discovered unconscious on Suffolk Street in Dublin's south inner city and later pronounced dead.

Then, last Friday, a 30-year-old woman died in a tent while sleeping rough in Cork.

Earlier this week, the funeral of Ms Carroll, from Tallaght, heard how she had lived for her children but her life had taken a devastating turn at the start of the year, when her family's rented home was sold by its owner.

Dublin Lord Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha called on the Government to take urgent action, saying more had to be done to end homelessness.

"The deaths of the homeless people is nothing short of extremely tragic and a reminder of the need to find a realistic way in ending homelessness," he said.

"The solutions are there to stop this and the Oireachtas committee on housing gave some answers.

"But this was not implemented by the Government, who have acted far too slowly and focused on a market-driven solution to our housing crisis via the private rental market and HAP [Housing Assistance Payment], when our citizens need social and affordable housing."

Counselling

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) director Anthony Flynn said: "It's shocking to see another homeless person die.

"There is a major problem that there isn't enough mental health support for people in homeless accommodation.

"There are major questions over how many people have died who are homeless because we aren't receiving all the information.

"The situation is becoming so bad that our volunteers at ICHH have been referred to counselling because they know some of the homeless people who've died - they've dealt with them on a regular basis.

"To think this is four deaths within just a week is just terrible," he added.

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