New Central Bank Figures Show the Housing and Homeless Crisis is Continuing to Deepen

NEW figures issued today by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive* report that 142 people were found sleeping rough in Dublin on the night of Nov 22nd.

This shows a 40% rise in the number sleeping rough in Dublin since last April when 102 people were found sleeping on the streets compared to the 142 people recorded last week in Dublin.

These latest figures means that a minimum number of 219 people were without a bed on the night of Nov 22nd as an additional 77 people were sleeping in the Homeless Night Café.  This compares to a total of 171 people on the night of the previous count on April 24th this year (When 102 were sleeping rough & 69 in the night café).

Focus Ireland is one of the lead organisations working to tackle rough sleeping, working in partnership with the Peter McVerry Trust to deliver the city’s Housing First programme. This includes an ‘Intake Team’ which is out on the streets every night engaging with people sleeping rough – or at risk – to get them off the streets and into an emergency bed.

The Housing First approach aims to get people off the streets and into a home as quickly as possible. Once housed the individual is provided with the intensive support that is often required by people who have been sleeping rough to help them sustain the tenancy. This approach has had a high success rate worldwide, but requires access to homes to work. So far the Dublin Housing First project has provided permanent homes for 63 people who were formerly rough sleeping.

Initially the Housing First project target was 100 tenancies, that has been increased to 300 under Rebuilding Ireland. The project currently has 67 rough sleepers housed at present.  The challenge faced by Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust  is to scale up housing provision and overcome the acute lack of affordable housing  that has hindered the project to date.

Both organisations have worked with the project partners to put in place a programme to scale up to 300 units.  Focus Ireland stressed that to achieve this target a mix of tenancies across various areas in Dublin are required and these could be ring-fenced to ensure delivery.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “It is vital we always remember that behind every one of these numbers and percentages we are talking about is a man or woman who is sleeping rough on the street or on the floor in a night café.  This is wrong and totally unacceptable. While much good work is being done to prevent people from becoming homeless the constantly rocketing rents and a growing number of buy-to-let homes being either repossessed or sold is causing a constant rise in the numbers being forced into homelessness.”

Mr. Allen said: “There are over 15,000 buy-to-let landlords who are in arrears by over 2 years. Banks and financial institutions are repossessing these homes and evicting the tenants at a rate of 100 a month. We are calling on the Government to outlaw this practice and ensure that that where banks repossess such properties they sell them on with the tenant still in place.”

 For Information Contact: Roughan Mac Namara – Ph: 086 85 15 117

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