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Friday 9 December 2016

'Humanitarian crisis' after huge 106pc rise in homeless families

Sleeping rough on Store Street in Dublin city
Sleeping rough on Store Street in Dublin city
Pictured at the launch are the Sam McGuinness from Dublin Simon Community, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh and Simon Volunteer Glenn Gannon.

THE number of homeless families in the city has jumped by 106pc within the year.

The Dublin Simon Community's annual review found that there has also been a shocking 99pc increase of children in emergency accommodation while the number of adults has risen by 44pc.

Speaking at the event, representative Sam McGuinness said that the Government's response has been too slow to stem the tide of homelessness and we are in the midst of a "humanitarian crisis".

"The numbers speak for themselves and clearly interventions to date have not been effective," Mr McGuinness said.

Inadequate

"We are asking Minister Kelly today, how bad does the situation need to get before the Government acts decisively and quickly? What will it take for the homeless emergency to get the emergency response needed?"

The organisation noted that the number of people who are classed as long-term homeless has jumped by 53pc.

"Exactly one year ago when 1,598 individuals were stuck in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region each night, we warned that inadequate, temporary measures were becoming long-term, and that the Government's plan to end long term homelessness by 2016 was clearly unachievable unless immediate action was taken," Mr McGuinness said.

"Twelve months on, despite constant warnings from organisations across the sector, we are now faced with a situation that none of us could have imagined.

"Not only has the number of people who are long-term homeless grown by 53pc, individuals who are stuck in emergency accommodation has increased to 2,298 in Dublin.

"Even more disturbing is the 1,275 children and 607 families who are without a home in the Dublin region alone," Mr McGuinness said. "This is outrageous and unacceptable."

Lord Mayor of Dublin Criona Ni Dhalaigh, who was speaking at the launch of the report, said that the Dublin Simon Community has worked with our most vulnerable in society for over 45 years.

"As they continue to see the new faces of homelessness coming to them for support, their dedicated teams of staff and volunteers provide invaluable assurance, security and encouragement, helping people, children and families move on from the trauma of homelessness towards a safe and secure home of their own," Ms Ni Dhalaigh said.

The charity said that the soup run has distributed over 50,000 sandwiches, hot drinks and snacks to people sleeping rough on the streets.

Over 200,000 meals were provided across residential services.

Over 70pc of clients accessing the organisation's services were deemed "long-term homeless" having been homeless longer than six months.

Prevention

In addition, the Simon Community recorded:

• A 112pc increase in the number of people accessing homelessness prevention and tenancy sustainment services.

• 260 children assisted by the prevention services.

• 75pc of clients who accessed the Tenancy Advice service and at risk of homelessness were from the private rented sector.

• The number of people accessing the services in Kildare, Wicklow and Meath rose by 12pc.

• 309 personal training sessions were conducted by the Health and Wellbeing service.

As part of Simon Week activities, the group are running a Homeless Forecast Campaign, where they are asking everyone to sign a letter to An Taoiseach and the Tanaiste urging them to bring the homeless and housing crisis to the top of the Cabinet's agenda.

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