- 17 Oct 22
Deaths may increase unless extra beds are provided under the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive's winter initiative, charities warn.
Multiple charities have started to warn that homeless deaths in the capital will rise unless more beds are provided urgently.
The weather is gradually getting colder, and more citizens are being forced onto the streets with nothing but cardboard to shelter them from the autumn chill. This is the reality of Dublin's homelessness crisis, and the statistics are increasing worrying.
According to Tony Walsh, the founder of the Dublin non-profit organisation Feed Our Homeless, extra beds were supposed to be supplied weeks ago under Dublin Region Homeless Executive's (DRHE) winter initiative, but people have yet to see what was promised to them.
"Over the last four to five weeks there have been numerous nights with no beds available," Walsh told the Irish Sunday Mirror yesterday. "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, and all the hotels are full.
"We have more and more people coming into homelessness because of the rental market," he continues. "If these extra beds are not brought into the system there are going to be deaths."
The homeless service founder's plea could not come at a more dire time. Homeless records in the city centre are at an all time high, and are continuing to grow as the housing crisis worsens.
According to the latest report by The Department of Housing, the total number of homeless people has reached 10,805 which currently stands as a new record high. With these figures being released on September 30, it is reasonable to assume the number has risen even higher throughout the month of October.
In addition, the figures show 7,585 adults and 3,220 children in emergency accommodation, with the amount of adults up by over 150 people in only one month. In general, child homelessness has skyrocketed by 47% compared with the same period of time last year, with overall homelessness jumping by 32% since last August.
A total of 115 homeless people have died in Dublin in the last year, more than double the figure of deaths in 2019. 76 deaths were recorded in 2020, and under 50 in 2019.
Earlier this month, People Before Profit submitted a bill to Cabinet to ban winter evictions until the end of March 2023 as a direct response to the cost of living crisis. This would effectively defend tenants from being thrown out of their living situations without a place to go.
However, earlier this week Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the temporary ban may likely cause a "glut" of homelessness once it ends in March. He states that the Government is currently weighing the positives and negatives of the bill.
Nevertheless, Walsh says we have no time to weigh our options. "We can't wait until the end of October, we need beds now. 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."
The DRHE has reported that emergency accommodation has been "operating at full or close to full capacity most nights," and that they will tend to emergency facilities "soon". However, founder and resident of Focus Ireland, Sr Stan Kennedy, blames the homelessness increased squarely on the Government, with "poor policy" and "bad political decisions" at the forefront in Focus Ireland's yearly report.
"We are being tired of being told it will take time to provide housing. We haven't got the time", she said.
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