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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019
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At least 168 people were sleeping rough in Dublin last night

The number of rough sleepers in the capital has reached a record high.

File photo
File photo
Image: Shutterstock/David Wingate

THE NUMBER OF rough sleepers in Dublin is at an all-time high, according to new figures from the Dublin Simon Community (DSC).

Some 168 people were counted sleeping rough in the capital overnight, a 32% increase in the last year. This figure does not include the 60 people without a bed in Merchants Quay Ireland’s night café.

The DSC released its 2015 annual report today, which includes the following statistics:

  • 10% of people moved out of emergency accommodation into a home
  • 59% of people in emergency accommodation have been homeless for more than two years
  • 31% increase in those accessing addiction treatment services
  • 46% increase in housing capacity (through opening and acquiring 109 new properties in 2015)
  • 59% increase in those accessing emergency accommodation

Speaking today, Sam McGuinness of the DSC confirmed the charity’s commitment to the Government’s Housing and Homeless Action Plan, Rebuilding Ireland, however he stressed the need for detail on specifics in how long-term homelessness will be addressed.

“As you walk the streets of Dublin, the numbers of people who are rough sleeping each night is very apparent. We were shocked to see the average number of people bedding down jump from 80 in August 2015 to 106 in August 2016.

“Looking to our numbers this month, we are averaging at 150 so far in September, with the figure at 168 this morning. This does not include the 60 people without a bed in the Merchant’s Quay night café. These numbers are similar to rough sleeping figures in December 2014, which were the highest since the official Dublin Region Homeless Executive counts began.

With emergency beds across the city operating at full capacity each night, rapid housing and support for individuals is urgently needed to get people off the streets to safety and to tackle the bottleneck in emergency accommodation.

“People have become trapped in the revolving door of homelessness and the short-term measure of emergency accommodation has become long-term. If we look at our emergency services for 2015, there was only a one in 10 chance of moving out of emergency accommodation into a home, with 90% of our residents deemed long-term homeless (longer than six months) and a shocking 59% homeless for more than two years.”

McGuinness said the DSC is “confident that Rebuilding Ireland will have a real and positive impact on the people who are being devastated by the homeless crisis”.

“In particular, the commitment to return 1,600 vacant properties to use by 2020 and the tripling of targets for Housing First in Dublin to 300 tenancies by 2017, plus 1,500 rapid build homes for families due by the end of 2018 is critical.

“We are also extremely encouraged by the increase in the target for social housing from 35,000 to 47,000 units, with a 40% increase in the social housing budget for direct builds by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies.”

Read: Dealz planning violations: Dublin council refuses to issue enforcement notice

Read: Two men arrested after Garda negotiators end ‘barricade incident’ at house in Cork

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Órla Ryan

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