Thursday 22 March 2018

WATCH: 'The Government are just telling people what they want to hear' - Dublin's homeless say conditions have not improved since Jonathan Corrie's death

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Debbie, a Dublin woman who knew Jonathan Corrie well, has been homeless on and off for 23 years.

She is adamant that the lives of homeless people in Dublin have not improved since his untimely death.

"The Government do the same thing every Christmas, but it's only for Christmas.

"After Christmas we're just left outside," she said.

Debbie said that there are more homeless people on Dublin's streets than ever before.

"The Government say things are improving but they're just telling us what we want to hear," she said.

Read More: Despite all the promises, the homeless crisis has deepened since Jonathan's tragic death

It is now exactly one year since Jonathan Corrie died in a cold and draughty doorway just yards away from our national parliament.

The father-of-two had reportedly battled with addiction for a long time and had been living rough in Dublin for eight years.

His death prompted a public outcry, with Environment Minister Alan Kelly vowing that the homeless crisis would top the Government's agenda.

At the time Minister Kelly stated that there would be no need for anyone to have to sleep rough in Dublin “unless they make that choice themselves”. 

Read More: Fr Peter McVerry: 'A year from Jonathan Corrie's death, the homeless situation is now worse than ever'
However, despite the steps taken by the Government to alleviate the situation, such as a two-year rent freeze, both Focus Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust have told that the problem has in fact deepened in the past 12 months.

Colin who is Scottish has been living on the streets for the past couple of years.

He said that there's still the same number of people homeless in Dublin as there always was.

"The Government need to stop messing around with people's rent," he said.

Brian prefers to sleep in a doorway rather than a hostel where he says drugs are rampant.

Read More: Cabinet go to war while homeless are left out in bitter cold

He alluded to the Government's promise to have all homeless people off the streets by the end of November and said that has not happened.

"They haven't even made a dent in the numbers.

"They need to open up the empty places around the city and let homeless people live there," he said.

Dublin-born Daniel recently returned to Ireland from Spain where he had been living for the past few years.

He has now been homeless for seven months.

Daniel said that there has been a slight increase in temporary accommodation solutions but said it was not nearly enough.

Read More: Homeless man dead for several hours before he was found on street

"How do you define 'temporary'?

"Is it a weekend?

"A week?

"Six weeks?" he said.

He said that there are buildings on Manor Street and Stanhope Street in Dublin 7, which should be "fixed up and made available to homeless people".

The latest short-term response from the government has come in the form of a Dublin ‘Cold Weather Action Plan’ providing for an extra 174 emergency beds as well as accommodation for couples and families.

Minister Kelly recently said that the long-term solution to homelessness is to increase the supply of homes.

The government plans to provide 35,000 new social housing units over a six-year period.

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