Focus Ireland Said 35% Rise in Rough-Sleeping Shows The Need To Deliver Access to Housing

NEW figures issued today by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive report 138 people were sleeping rough in Dublin on the night of April 4th This is a 35% rise in the number sleeping rough compared to 102 sleeping rough in Dublin on April 24th 2016.

These latest figures means that a minimum number of 195 people were without a bed on the night of April 4th as an additional 57 people were sleeping in the Homeless Night Café.  This compares to a total of 171 people in April 24th last year*

Focus Ireland said the new figures were expected – but still very disappointing – and once more shows the pressing need for tougher actions to address the overall housing and homelessness crisis.

Roughan Mac Namara of Focus Ireland said: “It is vital to always remember that behind every one of these numbers 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. We all need to leave no stone unturned in our efforts to end this terrible and unacceptable human crisis.”

Focus Ireland said the Government really needs to look at introducing stronger measures to encourage property owners to get empty houses back into the active housing stock. This could include possible measures such as tax on empty homes.  The charity added that the Government really has to kick-start the building of homes and follow through on delivering a more secure private rented sector if Ireland is to end this deepening crisis.

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 Programme is operated on behalf of – and funded by – the DRHE and DCC  and continues to work with rough sleepers and those single adults in emergency accommodation with a view to providing them with permanent accommodation.

The target is to source up to 300 homes this year specifically for these persons. 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.

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 their tenancy. This approach has had a high success rate worldwide, but requires access to homes to work.

Editors note* (102 people were sleeping rough and 69 people in the night cafe on the night of April 24th 2016)

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