This is the Legacy, of a Fianna Fail Government, and Gobshite Darragh Bluffer O’Brien; this is one of our own Irish People, you will not See a Foreigner Sleeping Rough in the Cold?

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Charities issue stark warning over homeless deaths due to lack of beds as people sleep on Dublin streets

“If these extra beds are not brought into the system there are going to be deaths

Homeless sleepers Dublin 2022
Images show rough sleepers on the streets of Dublin this week. (Image: Feed Our Homeless)

These shocking photos show rough sleepers in our capital city bedding down for the night as the winter chill starts to bite.

Huddled in laneways and doorways, they hope makeshift cardboard shelters will protect them from overnight temperatures as low as zero. Charities are warning of homeless deaths unless extra beds promised under Dublin Regional Homeless Executive’s winter initiative are rolled out.

Tony Walsh of Feed Our Homeless said the scheme should have started two weeks ago, but there are still no extra beds in the system. He told Irish Sunday Mirror: “Over the last four to five weeks there have been numerous nights with no beds available.

“We’re out every night and came across a homeless guy who was just 20, hadn’t a clue where he was going or what to do. We rang the freephone number for a bed and there was none. It was lashing rain.

“This is happening every night. There are no beds left in the system after nine o’clock. It’s freezing cold and you have people sleeping on the streets with bits of cardboard over them. The hostels are bursting at the seams, all the hotels are full.

Charities warn of homeless deaths due to bed shortage
Images show rough sleepers on the streets of Dublin this week. (Image: Feed Our Homeless)

“We have more and more people coming into homelessness because of the rental market. If these extra beds are not brought into the system there are going to be deaths.”

His plea for action comes as the latest Government figures show there are now a record 10,805 people homeless across Ireland. The Department of Housing’s August report showed 7,585 adults (up 154 in one month) and 3,220 chldren (up 83 since July) in emergency accommodation.

Child homelessness has jumped by 47 per cent compared with the same period last year while overall there has been a 32 per cent rise in homelessness in 12 months. Emergency accommodation is struggling under the strain with 1,843 more people in emergency accommodation than 18 months ago in Dublin alone.

There were 5,889 people staying in emergency accommodation in the Dublin region in February 2021. By August 2022, that had increased to 7,732 people.

A total of 115 homeless people died in Dublin last year – more than double the number who died in 2019 – bringing the total to 287 since 2018. In 2020, there were 76 deaths recorded. In 2019 and 2018, the number was under 50.

Tony Walsh added: “There are those who won’t go into the system and won’t go into hostels, but for those who want a bed there are none. There are 115 people sleeping rough across the city any given night.

“We’ve seen a huge increase in young people aged from 18 to 25 who are leaving the care system and ending up homeless.” People Before Profit will this month bring a bill to the Dail calling for an immediate eviction ban for the duration of the housing emergency.

Earlier this week Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said a temporary stay on residential tenancy evictions may lead to a “glut” of homelessness when it ends. He said the Government was “weighing up” the “pros and cons” of a ban over the winter months.

But FOH’s Tony Walsh called for urgent action as the winter chill looms. He warned: “We can’t wait until the end of October, we need the beds now.

“It’s freezing out there at night. What is going on with the beds?

“We’re looking at a tsunami of homelessness due to all the evictions. Over 30,000 tenants given notice and there are no properties there to rent.

“We’re going to see the streets fill up. My real fear is we will see deaths.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik this week told the Dail termination of tenancy “is the biggest fear confronting renters” – echoing the findings of a report published by Threshold. Launching its annual report Focus Ireland pointed out that family homelessness was up 56 per cent when compared to the same time last year.

Founder and resident Sister Stan Kennedy laid the blame squarely at the feet of the Government citing “poor policy” and “bad political decisions”. She said: “We are tired of being told it will take time to provide housing. We haven’t got the time.”

Sr Stan said the true figure for homelessness is likely 14,000 if rough sleepers and those in shelters and inadequate accommodation are included. Last week the DRHE said emergency accommodation in the capital was “operating at full or close to full capacity most nights”.

It plans to tender for emergency accommodation facilities “soon”. A spokeswoman for the DRHE said temporary accommodation in the Dublin region is operating to “full or close to full capacity most nights”.

She said the cold weather strategy would be put in place from November through to April 2023. She added: “We have tendered for emergency accommodation in the region to increase overall capacity, 240 permanent beds and 40 extreme weather beds will be provided.”

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