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No political will to solve city homeless crisis, says Simon

DUBLIN'S homelessness crisis is spiralling out of control and there is no political will to solve the problem, according to the Dublin Simon Community.

The Government's plan to abolish long-term homelessness by 2016 is now "impossible", according to Sam McGuinness chief executive of the charity.

"The explosion [in homelessness] has already happened - I've never seen it this bad," he told the Herald.

And with around 1,400 people sleeping in emergency accommodation each night in the Dublin area, the problem is escalating, he said.

A recent early morning count found 158 people sleeping rough on the streets of the capital.

These figures do not account for the high number of families living in hotels and hostels with no access to cooking facilities around the city.

It is estimated that housing families in hotel accommodation could cost Dublin City Council up to €4m by the year's end.

Temporary accommodation measures are becoming increasingly long term warned the charity.

Figures show that around 50pc of those now living in emergency accommodation have been there for longer than six months.

Better solutions for those who are sleeping rough and those who are locked out of the private rental market need to be considered, said Mr McGuinness.

"The political will isn't there - the response is too late, too long and too slow.

"The 2014 target of 1,100 tenancies for Dublin has been reduced by 30pc because of the complete collapse in the private rented market," he said.

A case-by-case increase in rent supplements for hard-up families is already under way by the Department of Social Protection, but this needs a wider application, according to the charity.

Mr McGuinness said that winter could spell tragedy for those without a roof over their head.

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