Peter McVerry Trust, the homeless and housing charity, has said the latest rough sleeper figure for Dublin is disappointing and reflects the challenge in securing housing move ons for people in homelessness. The charity was reacting to official figures which show that 138 people slept rough in Dublin on the night of April 4th, a 35% increase since spring 2016.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said “We are obviously disappointed with the latest count. Although the number is down since the winter count in November, it is up 35% on spring 2016. Given the sector added over 220 emergency beds in Dublin in late 2017 and has worked constantly to increase housing ‘move ons’ we had hoped that the figure would not be on the increase.”
Mr Doyle said Peter McVerry Trust would redouble its efforts to deliver a housing led response to rough sleeping “We will be making every possible effort to increase the availability of housing in the coming months. Getting people into housing means we can enable the housing first team, who are engaging daily with rough sleepers, to place and support people in their own homes. Greater availability of housing will also free up beds in existing emergency accommodation services for those rough sleepers who are willing to accept hostel placements.”
Mr Doyle said that empty homes, of which there are over 33,000 in Dublin, is one obvious area that could offer an immediate housing solution “An option to create housing solutions quickly and cheaply is to get empty homes back into use. These buildings can and must play a critical role in providing exits from homelessness. We know there are over 33,000 empty homes in Dublin alone yet we only need around 200 of these to all but eliminate rough sleeping in the city.”
“The recent commitment by Dublin City Council to prioritise homeless individuals for empty homes brought back into use under the repair and leasing scheme will, we hope, mean that we will begin to see an increase in social housing options and move ons out of homelessness. If we can get empty homes back into use quickly then we can begin to get people off the streets begin to reduce the rough sleeper number. “
Concluding Mr Doyle said there is still scope for stronger interventions by other Government departments such as Social Protection, Justice and Health to prevent people becoming homeless in the first instance. “We still see people falling through the cracks too easily. We need better and stronger supports for vulnerable people, people who find it very difficult to comply with a one size fits all approach. We are still asking for improved responses from Government departments like social protection,