News & Events
The homeless and housing charity, Peter McVerry Trust, said that making sustainable housing options available to people sleeping rough is the only effective way of tackling the issue in the long term. The charity was responding to the latest official rough sleeper figures for Dublin which found a minimum of 142 people sleeping rough on the night of 22nd November, 2016 and a further 77 in the Night Cafe.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said, “These figures are not unexpected but nevertheless they are deeply disappointing and very frustrating. The Housing First service, operated jointly by Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland, has seen consistently high numbers of people sleeping rough this year.”
“The Housing First service currently has 67 rough sleepers housed in Dublin, and is working with other individuals to help them secure permanent accommodation off the streets and out of homelessness. The biggest challenge facing the Housing First service is access to housing options.”
“Last night in Dublin temperatures dropped below freezing underlining the essential nature of the 230 emergency beds. At Peter McVerry Trust we will be opening a high quality service for 70 individuals, male and female, with 24/7 access in early December in partnership with the DRHE.”
“These beds are a vital interim response to people sleeping rough and those becoming homeless because of rapidly rising rents.”
“However, Peter McVerry Trust’s view is that the only effective way that we can begin to reduce and ultimately eliminate rough sleeping is to ensure we have enough appropriate housing options. To that end we need to see stronger and quicker interventions to make housing available. It is vital that rapid build units come on stream quickly to help provide an outlet for those in emergency accommodation.”
Mr Doyle also called on the Government and Local Authorities to move faster to tackle the high levels of empty private homes, particularly in urban areas.
Action on Vacant Properties
“According to the CSO, there are just over 35,000 vacant private homes in Dublin. While not all of these can be immediately returned to use, a significant proportion can and must be. The only way to do this effectively is to introduce a vacant property tax to push the houses back into the system, either for rent or for sale.”
“Even a 10% rate of return to use of these vacant units is equivalent to all the properties currently available to rent in Ireland, so you can see how tackling this issue now could have a massive impact. In addition to the vacant property tax, Local Authorities must introduce a significant and well-funded CPO programme to secure vacant dwellings.”
“The other factor to take into consideration is that most of these vacant homes are in areas where there is huge housing need but very little scope to build new housing developments. If we are to address rough sleeping and other forms of homelessness then it’s essential that we make better use of all available housing stock.”