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Wednesday 29 November 2023 Dublin: 1°C
Leah Farrell File photo of a tent in Dublin city centre in August 2021.

Number of people sleeping rough in Dublin down 27% on same time last year

Figures recorded by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive show that 91 people were sleeping rough in Dublin from 28 March to 3 April.

THE NUMBER OF people sleeping rough in Dublin has fallen, according to a new count. 

Figures recorded by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) show that 91 people were sleeping rough in Dublin in the week of 28 March to 3 April.

The quarterly count for spring saw a 27% reduction in the number of rough sleepers compared to 125 people counted in March/April 2021. It is a reduction of 3% on the winter 2021 count, when 94 people were found to be sleeping rough.

The count was arranged by the DRHE and carried out by the Dublin Simon Community Outreach Team and supported by the Peter McVerry Trust Housing First Intake Team.

The majority of rough sleepers were Irish, male and aged between 26 to 45, while 79% were linked with one of four Dublin local authorities.

31% of those found to be sleeping rough were using tents. 13 people were found to be sleeping rough in both the winter 2021 and spring 2022 counts.

Of the 91 people found to be sleeping rough, 72 had previously been assessed by the DRHE for homeless services, while the remaining 19 people were being actively engaged with by the Outreach team to be assessed by homeless services.  

“A number of these are being targeted for a Housing First response, which will provide them with permanent housing and visiting supports to help them sustain their home,” the report said.

Nine people recorded as sleeping rough had an active tenancy.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Dublin Simon Community welcomed the reduction in the number of people sleeping rough, but said the number is still “far too high”. 

“Nobody should have to sleep rough, and our Outreach team will continue to engage with those who remain to provide housing options, referral to critical treatment services, address barriers to accepting accommodation, advocating on their behalf with partners across the sector,” the spokesperson said.

Emergency accommodation

They added that while rough sleeping is declining, the number of people in emergency accommodation “continues to climb to pre-pandemic levels”.

In the April 2022 count, 20 people accessed emergency accommodation during the same week.

94% of those found to be sleeping rough during the count had used homeless accommodation in the past, 63% at some time in the three months prior to the count, and 28% had an open booking for emergency accommodation on at least one of the nights they were found to be sleeping rough.

Figures released by the Department of Housing last month found that 6,825 adults accessed emergency accommodation in the last week of February.

There was also 2,667 children who were reported as being homeless in February.

“People are now spending far longer in emergency accommodation because there are no social or affordable homes available for them. Sheltered accommodation is safer than rough sleeping, but nowhere is safer than inside your own front door,” the spokesperson said.

“If you see someone in need of support, the Dublin Outreach team are on the street from 7am – 1am and can be contacted via the Dublin Rough Sleeper app or on 01 872 0185.”

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said that there is, and will be ongoing and constant intensive engagement with those who were sleeping rough “to ensure we offer them all appropriate support and help”. 

“These engagements are about ensuring we reach every individual, link them with appropriate supports and ensure people are placed on housing pathways as quickly as possible,” he said.

Housing First

He said it is also important to recognise the impact that the Housing First model has had “on the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin, creating hundreds of tenancies for people in recent years”.

Housing First is the foremost and most appropriate response to the needs of people sleeping rough and the number of tenancies has grown significantly in the past few years. The aim is to carry on creating more tenancies, offering more pathways to housing with intensive, multi-disciplinary wraparound supports.

Doyle added that Housing First is continuing to grow in Dublin and across the country, and will play a key role in further reducing the number of people sleeping rough.

“The establishment of the National Office for Housing First, together with additional resources, as well as the prioritisation of funding towards Housing First units by the Department of Housing, will enable Peter McVerry Trust and other agencies to provide more sustainable housing pathways for people,” he said.

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