Tuesday 17 October 2017

Government urged to act on homeless crisis as four homeless people die in one week

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Laura Lynott

Four homeless people have died in just over one week, as calls were made for the Government to urgently step in and end homelessness.

Just before midnight last night, a 26-year-old man is believed to have taken his life in emergency accommodation in Dublin 8.  Gardai were called to the incident but those who run the accommodation refused to confirm the death.

And for much of today, Dublin City Council and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) refused to confirm the death had taken place.

This evening the DHRE finally confirmed the latest death, stating:  “The DRHE is aware of the death of a person who was accessing homeless services. 

“The DRHE will not be commenting any further except to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

Last Wednesday homeless mother-of-two Danielle Carroll (27) took her life in the Leixlip House Hotel in Co Kildare.

The young mother’s funeral earlier this week heard how the Tallaght woman had lived for her children but life had taken a devastating turn when at the beginning of the year her family’s rented home was sold by its owner.

Dublin’s mayor Micheal Mac Donncha called on the Government to take urgent action and stated more had to be done to end homelessness.

“The deaths of the homeless people is nothing short of extremely tragic and a reminder of the need to find in a realistic way in ending homelessness,” the mayor said.

“The solutions are there to stop this and the Oireachtas Committee on housing gave some answers but this was not implemented by the Government, who have acted far too slowly and focused on a market driven solution to our housing crisis via the private rental market and HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) when our citizens need social and affordable housing.

“I urge action because the problem is worsening and we cannot know the stress and strain on homeless people, their families and children in homelessness and the long term effects on their mental health.

“We cannot know the full toll on these people as human beings and I urge rapid intervention by the state and that government works quickly with homeless agencies on this situation.

“My thoughts go to those who’ve lost their lives and their families.”

There was also concern among homeless campaigners that all homeless deaths may not be being released to the public in the wake of the struggle to gain information on the latest tragedy.

Inner City Helping Homeless director Anthony Flynn said:  “It’s shocking to see another homeless person die.

“There is a major problem that there isn’t enough mental health support for people in homeless accommodation.

“And there are major questions over how many people have died who are homeless because we aren’t receiving all the information.

“The situation is becoming so bad, that our volunteers at ICHH have been referred to counselling because they know some of the homeless people who’ve died - they’ve dealt with them on a regular basis.

“To think of four deaths within just a week is just terrible.  And we have to ask serious questions over whether all the information on the deaths are being released to the public.

“And if people in the homeless system are getting the right help.  People might enter into the system with no mental health problems but many will suffer them during the time they are homeless because of the strain and stress of homelessness.

“They go into hostels where there are drug problems and they have no privacy.  It’s a vicious circle.

“The system is at an all-time low and it’s ready to implode and the fact there’s been suicides shows that people are being hoarded like cattle and not treated like human beings.

“Homeless people need to be dealt with as human beings and dealt with on a case by case basis.”

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