herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

We're faced with a vast tide of homelessness

The number of people falling into the despair of homelessness has grown to record levels.

Each day, very vulnerable people are faced with the complexity of serious housing shortages, rapidly growing rents, issues with rent supplement and discrimination against social welfare recipients.

In Dublin, Simon are finding that people who never expected to become homeless are now seeing their situation spiral out of control.

Individuals and families are losing their homes and are being shut out of the rental market because of prices they cannot afford. For those who are struggling to survive, often just a pay cheque, one social welfare payment, one family problem, one health diagnosis, or one mortgage repayment could be the final push into homelessness.

Recent talks about green shoots are not reaching the most vulnerable in our society, the majority of whom never experienced any benefits from the Celtic Tiger.

Sadly, the less fortunate have become more unfortunate.

What is extremely worrying is that many people who accessed our emergency accommodation did not have housing to move on to.

Over 1,400 individuals are forced to take shelter in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region each night, with little or no hope of moving on to somewhere of their own.

families

This figure does not include the high number of families and children suffering the effects of living in hotels and other poor emergency accommodation.

In the absence of sufficient housing options, many are forced to move from shelter to shelter or resort to rough sleeping.

For those who have little option but to sleep in doorways and on our city's pavements, the numbers are shamefully high.

Just last week, a volunteer group counted 158 people rough sleeping in Dublin, 24pc more than the official count last April.

We would see this as the absolute minimum figure, as this does not include the "hidden homeless", those who are couch surfing, staying in squats, hospitals or temporary B&Bs.

The growing problem of homelessness in Dublin, and throughout the country, can not and must not be ignored any longer.

Currently we are faced with a fast moving tide of homelessness and it's vital that we are able to provide, suitable housing for people who have fallen into the despair of homelessness.

During the toughest of times Simon continues to be more focused on sourcing and securing housing to adapt into permanent homes.

Sam McGuinness is head of Dublin Simon Community

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