Focus Ireland welcomed today’s announcement that there has been a fall in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin

Focus Ireland welcomed today’s announcement that there has been a fall in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin, as reported in the Dublin Spring 2018 Rough Sleeping Count. The minimum number of people sleeping rough fell from a record of 184 on the 7th November 2017 to 110 in April 2018.

“This reduction reflects the enormous efforts of The DRHE and homeless Organisation and volunteers over one of the longest and hardest winters for generations,” said Pat Dennigan, CEO of Focus Ireland.

“While seeing  74 fewer people sleeping rough in Dublin is very welcome, it must also be recognised as disappointing, given that 200 new emergency homeless beds were provided over the same period. The fact that the city can open 200 new emergency beds over six months and only see rough sleeping fall by only 74 people is a stark indication of how deep the housing and homeless crisis has now become.”

We are back to the level of rough sleeping recorded three years ago (105 in Spring 2015), but nationally we have thousands of people living in emergency accommodation across the country, a record 9,807 people including 3,755 children.

Again while the drop in rough sleeping over the last three years is most welcome, the overall trend in the total number of people homeless has shown a massive 130% rise in the same period, up to nearly 10,000.

For the latest figures click here

A significant contribution to the fall in rough sleeping was made by the Dublin Housing First team, which is jointly delivered by Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust. This programme has supported over 200 people with very long experience of homelessness to move out of homelessness and secure their own independent tenancies. We are working closely with the DRHE on a daily basis to support more people to take this step.

People who are forced to sleep rough are the most severe victims of a housing crisis that now impacts on people at all levels of our society. We need a range of measures to tackle homelessness, but without affordable secure housing none of the other measures will have the required impact. The Government’s commitment to Housing First is very welcome, but stands in contrast to its failure to deliver the actual housing.

Government results and targets for social housing published over the last few days show significant increases from recent years, but we are coming from such a low base that even tripling output falls far short of what is really needed to get on top of this problem. Targets for social housing build remain are too low, with only 1,045 planned for Dublin. In the context of the publication of the rough sleeping figures the absence of any indication from Government about how many of these new homes will be for single people is disappointing.

Pat Dennigan also welcomed the invitation to CEO’s of homeless organisations to meet the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar on Monday next week to discuss the crisis. “I believe this invitation reflects recognition of the scale of the problem and will be an opportunity to have a frank discussion about what is working and what more needs to be done. We hope it will lead to a renewed and collective efforts at every level, which will enable us reduce the distress which so many people are facing, and our staff work to overcome every day.”

Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 8515117 or Alan Neary 0864680442.

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