Tuesday 27 September 2016

Focus Ireland: 'Families sleeping rough in Dublin have doubled'

Published 26/05/2015 | 07:57

Last year, an average of 1,378 people stayed in emergency accommodation every night in the Dublin region
Last year, an average of 1,378 people stayed in emergency accommodation every night in the Dublin region

Homelessness has again reached crisis point in Dublin, with the number of families seeking shelter more than doubling in 12 months.

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Focus Ireland reports that of the 71 homeless families referred to its services in April, 63 were first-time homeless.

The charity warned they had seen the number of families made homeless double twice in the last two years.

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“Family homelessness has peaked again,” said Mike Allen, Focus Ireland's Director of Advocacy.

“There’s almost 90 pc more families in homeless accommodation this year. We’ve seen the numbers double last year, and we’ve seen them double again this year. I don’t mean to be alarmist about this… but it is quite clear that what everyone is doing isn’t enough.”

Speaking on RTE Radio, Mr Allen said Focus Ireland was increasingly coming across more families sleeping in cars and other unsuitable places.

“If you go to Paris, which is quite a wealthy city, you’ll see people sleeping on the streets with their children, and people just walk pass completely oblivious.”

“We’ve a choice now whether we want to become a city like that.”

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Focus Ireland has called on Local Government Minister Alan Kelly to issue an urgent ministerial directive to local authorities, asking them to provide suitable emergency accommodation to any family facing homelessness.

Mr Allen says without immediate action, it was “simply a matter of time before young children and their parents are sleeping on the streets.”

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He added that this problem is becoming an issue in other cities including Cork and Galway.

They said that a rise in rent supplement would keep families in their existing homes and prevent them becoming homeless.

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