News & Events
Peter McVerry Trust has welcomed the reduction in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin but said it is disappointed that the number is not lower than the 91 people recorded on December 1st. This is a substantial decrease on 2014’s winter count which recorded 168 people sleeping rough in the Dublin region.
The Peter McVerry Trust said it had hoped the figure would’ve been even lower given the major efforts made by the sector to provide additional homeless accommodation in the past 12 months.
The CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, Pat Doyle said “Peter McVerry Trust, together with our partners in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, the four Dublin Local Authorities and our colleagues in the voluntary sector have made enormous efforts in the past 12 months to provide new homeless accommodation to help reduce people sleeping rough and keep pace with the need for homeless accommodation. In the space of 12 months around 500 additional bed spaces have been made available in Dublin. In the first 9 months of 2015 the sector also moved 739 people out of homelessness, the best figure on record when measured against the same period in previous years.”
“Despite the major effort made we still see the number of people sleeping rough at unacceptably high levels. The fact that we haven’t been able to reduce the number to an even lower level highlights the serious challenges that we face. ”
Mr Doyle also highlighted the impact that the Housing First model was having in helping to reduce rough sleeper numbers in Dublin. “The Focus Ireland Peter McVerry Trust Housing First service, operated on behalf of the DRHE, housed 27 rough sleepers in the period between December 2014 and November 2015, and is now supporting a total of 45 former rough sleepers in their own homes through a high intensity case management system. The Housing First service will also progress a further 2 rough sleepers into their own homes before Christmas.”
“The Focus Ireland Peter McVerry Trust Housing First service, which is made up of a street intake team, intensive case management team, also includes a clinical team which holds expertise in addiction, mental health, general health and counselling. This service is designed to help entrenched rough sleepers who may chose not to access emergency accommodation and who have individual and complex needs.”
Peter McVerry Trust Response
Mr Doyle said that Peter McVerry is attempting to do what it can to help the DRHE and others respond to the crisis. “In December alone Peter McVerry Trust will open a 20 bed cold weather facility, a supported family unit providing 12 family suites, secure 4 tenancies for people to move out of homelessness in conjunction with Fingal County Council. We will also open 12 housing units in partnership with Dublin City Council and the CIF in the coming days. All these measures will help, but it is particularly the ability to secure housing that will help free up bed spaces in homeless services to get people off the street and into shelter as first step on a pathway out of homelessness.”
Access to Housing
Mr Doyle highlighted the challenges that exist in finding and securing suitable accommodation for single people, a factor which the charity believes is making the homeless situation especially challenging. “It is extremely difficult for a single person to secure private rented accommodation given the costs involved in renting at the moment which today’s PRTB figures only confirm. The number of local authority units for single people is also limited as social housing has been built for the traditional family unit. Addressing the lack of accommodation options for single homeless people could significantly reduce the number of rough sleepers and individuals in homeless accommodation.”
“We would urge the Department of the Environment and the four Dublin Local Authorities to move to conduct an immediate audit of both commercial and residential buildings in urban areas to ascertain what buildings could potentially be turned in full, or in part, into mixed tenancy residential units which would help provide a short term boost to social and affordable housing in urban areas where the homeless and housing crises are most acute.”