Sunday 11 December 2016

Two years after Jonathan Corrie's death 142 still sleep rough

Laura Larkin

Published 01/12/2016 | 07:05

Jonathan Corrie
Jonathan Corrie

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of homeless man Jonathan Corrie - and the number of rough sleepers has risen sharply in the past year.

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Dublin City Council and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) announced yesterday they are to provide 230 winter beds by December 9 - up from around 200 beds in the previous two years.

During the winter 2015 count, 91 people slept on the city streets, while in 2014 there were 168 rough sleepers in Dublin on the night of the count.

However, this year, the November 22 count found 142 people sleeping rough.

Jonathan Corrie (inset)died on December 1, 2014, yards from the Dail. His death sent shockwaves through the city but an inquest found earlier this year he had died from a "multi-drug overdose".

Homeless and housing charity the Peter McVerry Trust said the rough sleepers figure could be much higher and the only way to solve the problem is to make sustainable housing options available to people living on the streets.

"These figures are not unexpected but nevertheless they are deeply disappointing and very frustrating," CEO Pat Doyle said.

"According to the CSO, there are just over 35,000 vacant private homes in Dublin.

"While not all of these can be immediately returned to use, a significant proportion can and must be.

"The only way to do this effectively is to introduce a vacant property tax to push the houses back into the system, either for rent or for sale.

IMPACT

"Even a 10pc rate of return to use of these vacant units is equivalent to all the properties currently available to rent in Ireland, so you can see how tackling this issue now could have a massive impact.

"The other factor to take into consideration is that most of these vacant homes are in areas where there is huge housing need but very little scope to build new housing developments.

"If we are to address rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness then it's essential that we make better use of all available housing stock," Mr Doyle added.

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