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Homeless man and young boy sleep on the street in Shadow of 5-star hotel

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The shocking image shows a homeless man and child sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin city centre

The shocking image shows a homeless man and child sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin city centre

The shocking image shows a homeless man and child sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin city centre

This shocking image of a man and young boy sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin highlights once again the depth of the homelessness crisis.

Taken just off Grafton Street, it shows the pair, still in their clothes and shoes, sheltering under a sleeping bag in a laneway only metres from the five-star Westbury Hotel.

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Feed Our Homeless founder Tony Walsh wants action

Feed Our Homeless founder Tony Walsh wants action

Feed Our Homeless founder Tony Walsh wants action

The picture, which was taken on Monday morning, is a living depiction of the latest statistics, which show the number of homeless children is growing alarmingly.

Four families became homeless every single day in July in the capital.

In total, 122 families with 270 children became newly homeless in Dublin in July alone.

That month, 9,891 people - 6,024 adults and 3,867 children - were living in emergency accommodation in hotels, B&Bs and family hubs, up from 9,872 people in June.

The Feed Our Homeless charity has called on the Government and local authorities to build houses with the money currently being spent on renting space for emergency accommodation.

"Every month we see more and more families becoming homeless as landlords put up rents, forcing people out to look for housing," said Feed Our Homeless founder Tony Walsh.

"There aren't enough houses, so they seek emergency accommodation, but there aren't enough spaces there either, so they're forced into garda stations or on to the streets.

Failing

"Current government policy is failing. They need to build houses. Renting is dead money.

"They also need to get the boarded-up houses back on stream to house people."

Mr Walsh, who spent years homeless, set up Feed Our Homeless with his partner, Natasha Morgan, two years ago as a purely voluntary organisation.

"What we see is shocking and unacceptable," he said.

"Here we are with another winter coming around the corner and it's clear to us that there are more children turning up on the streets and at our soup runs every week.

"Not only are we feeding those on the streets, but people in emergency accommodation with no cooking facilities too. People with children.

"The Budget is coming up now, and I'm pleading with the Government to make housing a priority."

When the latest homeless figures were released, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said he had expected the numbers to show an increase from June.

"The numbers presenting to homeless services in the Dublin region remains a concern, despite significant progress in exiting individuals and families from emergency accommodation into independent tenancies," he said.

The minister added that a significant number of new homes was needed.

Focus Ireland has warned that the Government is now "further away from getting on top of the housing and homeless crisis" following the release of the latest figures.

The organisation said that while Mr Murphy was right to draw attention to progress in some areas, the continued rise in homelessness meant new and better policies are needed.

Meanwhile, Feed Our Homeless has been put off the road after a traffic accident while collecting abandoned sleeping bags and tents from Electric Picnic wrecked its only van.

Mr Walsh drove to Stradbally, Co Laois, on Monday, knowing that many sleeping bags and tents get left behind by revellers who don't bother to take them home.

However, the trip to collect vital supplies for the homeless turned to disaster when the charity's only van was rear-ended.

"It was a genuine accident," said Mr Walsh.

"An elderly lady hit the back of the van and we wish her well, but at the moment the van we use for collecting food donations and setting up the food runs is off the road.

Insurance

"Five of us ended up in hospital but there were no serious injuries. We don't know how long the insurance will take to process and get us back on the road.

"For the moment we're at a standstill and it is impossible to provide the level of service we usually do.

"The soup kitchen at the Bank of Ireland on College Green on Thursdays and Sundays feeds 300 people.

"We are a totally voluntary organisation with no government funding, so we are appealing to anyone who can help us to contact us.

"We're between a rock and a hard place."


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