Monday 26 September 2016

'Government isn't doing enough to find a bed for the 1200 children who need one' - Dublin Simon Community

David Kearns

Published 22/09/2015 | 12:17

Around 150 people are sleeping rough each night, according to the charity
Around 150 people are sleeping rough each night, according to the charity

Dublin is facing a ‘humanitarian crisis of homelessness’ as it is revealed there are now more than 1,200 children sleeping rough in the capital.

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New figures show the number of homeless families in Dublin has jumped by 106 pc in the last 12 months.

Accusing the Government of dragging its feet, the Dublin Simon Community said little had been down to help the 2,300 people in need of emergency accommodations in the capital.

Read More: We must declare a national emergency to solve this long-running crisis

The number of people sleeping rough - on average 150 a night - has exceeded levels seen last Christmas when Jonathan Corrie died in front of Leinster House and ministers promised action, it said.

The homeless charity laid bare the extent of Dublin’s homeless problem in its latest annual report.

The agency said exactly one year ago there were 1,598 individuals in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region each night.

“Not only has the number of people who are long-term homeless grown by 53pc but individuals in emergency accommodation has increased to 2,298 in the capital,” the report says.

Read More: Homeless man with serious health condition finds shelter in a tent under Bono's house

Adding: “The numbers sleeping rough have grown despite the provision of 207 extra beds over Christmas last year.”

Currently there are 1,275 children and 607 families without a home in the Dublin region, which is “outrageous and unacceptable” according to Sam McGuinness, the charity's chief.

Mr McGuinness said he wanted to know from Environment Minister Alan Kelly - who last week backed the idea of using modern prefab units for homeless people - how bad the crisis has to get before the Government takes quick and decisive action.

Mr McGuinness added: "We are now faced with a catastrophe where, nine months on from the tragic death of Jonathan Corrie in front of Leinster House the numbers who are rough sleeping have grown despite the provision of 207 extra beds over Christmas last year."

Read More: WATCH: First look at prefabs costing from just €35k that councils hope will solve homeless crisis

He warned that the figures Dublin Simon records are an absolute minimum as they do not take into account "hidden homeless" people who stay in squats, hospital waiting rooms, B&Bs, or couch surf.

"We must move past discussion and rhetoric and take tangible action now to help people and families who are currently trapped in this crisis.

"Each day, very vulnerable people and families are being met with a complex mix of housing shortages, inadequate rent supplement/allowances and rents rising at a shocking rate."

The agency is one of several homeless groups planning to demonstrate outside the Dáil this evening.

Dublin Simon Community figures:

  • Soup runs for rough sleepers delivered more than 50,000 sandwiches, hot drinks and snacks while 200,000 meals were served in its centres
  • Over 70 pc of clients were deemed "long term homeless" having been without a home for more than six months
  • Three quarters of the 400 people who sought tenancy advice and were at risk of homelessness had been living in private rented accommodation.
  • The number of people accessing the charity's services in Kildare, Wicklow and Meath rose by 12 pc
  • The agency is one of several homeless groups planning to demonstrate outside the Dáil this evening

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