Tuesday 12 December 2017

Surge in business owners left homeless since economic crash

Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

THE numbers of former business owners who are homeless has doubled since the economic crash kicked in.

The Dublin Simon Community estimates that 4pc in the capital today were managing or running their own businesses in 2006.

The ratio of former business owners who were homeless was closer to 2pc during the boom.

"We are seeing former accountants, publicans, engineers, shop owners and quite a lot of people who ran their own businesses in construction," says Catherine Kenny, head of housing with Dublin Simon.

With about 2,000 people homeless in the capital, expanding to around 5,000 people dealt with by Simon nationwide, these figures suggest that around 80 former business owners are now in emergency accommodation or on the capital's streets.

"It shows that homelessness can happen even to quite successful people who are subject to high levels of mental stress over long periods of time.

"And because the steps from unemployment to homelessness can be very gradual and can take years, we're only seeing those business people who were worst affected by the crash starting to become homeless now."

Ms Kenny said many of these people lost their confidence along with their jobs or their businesses. "The typical pattern is that after a period in which they have already been subjected to an inordinate amount of stress, they then lose their income."

She said that some people can spiral into drink problems, and then lose their accommodation leading to massive family tensions.

Proud

"Finally they end up in assisted accommodation like a B&B or a hostel. We know of formerly successful people who are on the street whose families don't even know about it because they have been too proud to admit it."

Although there are no exact figures, it is also reckoned that more than a third of homeless people in the capital came here from foreign countries during the boom years, most likely in search of work or with the aim of starting a business.

Irish Independent

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