Focus Ireland Said New Figures Reporting 102 People Sleeping Rough in Dublin Show Next Government Must Learn From Past Mistakes To End This Crisis
NEW figures issued today by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive report that 102 people were found sleeping rough in Dublin on the night of April 24th and 69 people were in the Homeless Night Café on the night. This means that a minimum number of 171 people were without a bed on that night.
This compares to a total of 152 people on the night of the previous count on Nov 30th(When 91 were sleeping rough & 61 in the night café) Focus Ireland said that while rough sleeping numbers have remained around the same the overall homeless crisis continues to deepen with the latest figures from February showing an 8% increase (119 people) since November in adult homelessness outside of families to a total of 1,629 individuals.
Focus Ireland is working to tackle rough sleeping as staff of theFocus Ireland/Peter McVerry partnership service are out on the streets every night engaging with people sleeping rough – or at risk – to get them off the streets, linked to support services and ensuring that all the available emergency beds are used. The Housing First approach sees these specially trained staff work with the person to access their needs and link them with other services they may require (basic medical help, GP, Rehab, mental health, advocacy advice, support and information).
The Housing First approach specifically aims to get people off the streets and into a home as quickly as possible. Once housed the individual is provided with intensive support 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.
Focus Ireland CEO Ashley Balbirnie said: “The continuing problem of people sleeping rough is deeply worrying and unacceptable. There is much good work being done to support people but we all know the key to ending this crisis is to provide more homes and also to stop the constant flow of people becoming homeless. However, it’s important to look at why the problem of homelessness has continued to get worse in recent years. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is not to blame for this crisis. The organisation works hard to access emergency accommodation which is so difficult given the housing/accommodation crisis.”
“Focus Ireland does not shy away from saying the major reason for this crisis is the failure of previous governments to act to prevent a problem turning into a crisis and now it is an emergency situation. The last Government did some work to help prevent families and individuals from becoming homeless and others to move on and secure a home. However, the actions were neither sufficient nor fast enough to deal with the problems, and in some areas, such as Rent Supplement, they actually helped transform the housing crisis into a homeless emergency. We must make sure these mistakes are not repeated. We need more action not more words. The next Government has to commit to a coherent set of actions required to achieve this urgently.”
Focus Ireland has said that a programme to tackle the housing and homeless crisis should be at the heart of any new Government, and previously issued a five point plan setting out the key elements which should inform such a programme. These demands include calling for a cast iron commitment to end family homelessness with a firm target date to achieve this and also a commitment to build 40,000 social homes over the next 5 years.
The John’s Lane West emergency homeless hostel was opened by Focus Ireland, in partnership with the Peter McVerry Trust, in Winter 2014 as part of the crisis response to a sharp increase in rough sleeping at the time and provides 42 beds each night, for men and women. The hostel is situated in a former factory building which is owned by Focus Ireland and which is scheduled to be demolished and replaced by a development of 31 apartments to provide long-term homes for people who are homeless. The units will be a mixture of family and single person homes. Focus Ireland and Peter McVerry Trust have been working with DRHE to secure alternative suitable accommodation for the people who are using the JLW service.
For Information Contact: Roughan Mac Namara – Ph: 086 85 15 117 or Michelle Moran– 086 468 04 42