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The number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has just had the biggest decrease ever

Has the crisis been averted?

Updated 3.39pm

Homeless People Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland Leon Farrell / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has recorded its biggest decrease in the number of people sleeping rough since the counts first started eight years ago.

The number of people in emergency accommodation continues to rise, prompting calls for a rethink of policy in this area.

On the night of 14 April and into the next morning, officials from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive recorded 105 people sleep on the city’s streets.

This is a 38% drop from the winter count in November when 168 were recorded.

This is the first rough sleepers count to take place after the Government launched a range of initiatives, sparked by the death of Jonathan Corrie just metres from Leinster House, to tackle the growing homeless crisis.

crop1 Dublin Region Homeless Executive Dublin Region Homeless Executive

As part of this, Merchant’s Quay Ireland opened a Night Café, operating as a drop-in service for members of the public seeking homeless services, such as referrals for accommodation. Some 46 people used this service on the night of the count.

The key findings were, of the 105 persons confirmed sleeping rough:

  • 88 persons were male, 15 were female and 2 individuals were unknown
  • 57 persons were Irish, 14 persons were not from Ireland and 34 were unknown
  • 17 were aged 18-30 years, 28 were aged 31-40 years, 21 were aged 41-50, 10 were aged 51-60, 4 were aged 61+ and 25 persons were unknown
  • Information was provided by 60 of the 105 persons confirmed as rough sleeping. Of these 60 persons, 48 had previous access to homeless services.
  • 24 individuals were found to be sleeping rough in the north inner city and 64 in the south inner city. The remaining number were in parks and in areas outside the city centre.

A total of 1,872 adults were in emergency accommodation, up from 1,526 in November.

This figure excludes children, of which there were 911 in emergency accommodation during a count last month.

CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle welcomed the figures, adding that the reduction is due ‘in part to additional emergency accommodation’ but also services such as the Night Café and the Peter McVerry Trust’s Housing First service.

crop2 Dublin Region Homeless Executive Dublin Region Homeless Executive

However, Doyle said that once people are in emergency accommodation, they are still finding it difficult to move onto rental accommodation.

What we need is a realisation that we cannot continue along the path of opening more and more emergency accommodation. Its not sustainable and doesn’t meet the needs of people in homeless services who actually need permanent accommodation solutions.

Doyle suggested that unused upper floor space in commercial properties around Dublin could be turned into suitable accommodation.

“An audit of these properties would, I am sure, show significant potential for new units to be developed and be turned around quickly if the will and resources exist,” he said.

Listen: A family of six including one-month-old baby slept in a car last night >

Read: The issue of families living in hotels is still (mostly) a Dublin problem >

More: The number of homeless children is still rising >

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