Some 59% of people in emergency accommodation homeless for more than two years

There was also a 32% increase in numbers counted on rough sleeping counts

Some 59% of people in emergency accommodation homeless for more than two years

The Homeless Jesus sculpture outside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

A new report on homeless people in Dublin has found just 10% have been moved out of emergency accommodation into a home.

The Dublin Simon Community annual report says that 59% of people in emergency accommodation have been homeless for more than two years.

The charity also saw a 32% increase in the numbers counted on early morning rough sleeping counts in the last year - not including the 60 without a bed in Merchants Quay Ireland's Night Café.

There was a 31% increase in those accessing addiction treatment services, and a 59% increase in those accessing emergency accommodation.

Sam McGuinness of the Dublin Simon Community confirmed the charity's commitment to the Government's Housing and Homeless Action Plan, but stressed the need for detail on specifics in the plan.

He said the thousands of vulnerable people who are currently rough sleeping and stuck in emergency accommodation needed hope.

"With emergency beds across the city operating at full capacity each night, rapid housing and support for individuals is urgently needed to get people off the streets to safety and to tackle the bottleneck in emergency accommodation.

"People have become trapped in the revolving door of homelessness and the short term measure of emergency accommodation has become long term.

"If we look at our emergency services for 2015, there was only a one in ten chance of moving out of emergency accommodation into a home, with 90% of our residents deemed long term homeless (longer than six months) and a shocking 59% homeless for more than two years."

Mr McGuinness told the Pat Kenny Show here on Newstalk that a number of factors are contributing to the rising figures.

The Housing Minister insisted today that ending homelessness remains the Government's top priority.

Minister Simon Coveney said the figures are alarming, and that the flow of people into homelessness needs to stop.

"The figures are shocking, but I'm not surprised," he said. "I was out on the street last week, talking to people who are homeless.

"We're obviously keeping a very close eye on those numbers, because it's my job to get them down. But we have a lot of things to do to get those numbers down," he added.

Simon Community's Early Morning Street Counts take place twice a week in the area above | Image: Simon Community

The most recent figures from the Department of Environment show a 29% increase in the number of adults and 39% in children accessing emergency accommodation, in the past year.

Last year saw a 32% rise in rough sleeping over the past year despite, the provision of 195 extra emergency beds.

Key developments:

  • In excess of 150 individual clients each month were provided with housing assistance, harm reduction and medical services by Rough Sleeper Team
  • 845 GP consultations took place at Simon's mobile health unit, operated in partnership with Safetynet, providing free primary care to people experiencing homelessness
  • An average of 470 harm reduction emergency needle exchange packs were issued each month
  • An average of 149 individuals, for September thus far, were counted sleeping in the inner city on its Early Morning Street Counts
  • More than 60,000 hot drinks, sandwiches and snacks were distributed by its soup run and social club
  • 689 people were accommodated in emergency housing with care plans focusing on physical and mental health, life skills, education and employability
  • 90% of clients were long term homeless who accessed emergency accommodation
  • 71% of new clients in its emergency accommodation were aged 31-49

Mr McGuinness said that Simon is vigorously working with the resources at their disposable, to do everything possible to respond to the ever growing demand for housing and services.

"As the numbers of people coming to our door for help continues to dramatically increase, we have utilised our limited resources to provide more accommodation and treatment services.

"Last year, in all our residential services, we provided over 230,000 meals to people who are homeless, with our kitchens providing nourishing food to improve their health and wellbeing.

"We also increased our capacity to house people who are homeless by acquiring 109 additional housing units. Additionally, to strengthen our ability to deliver life saving accommodation, we introduced our ambitious Capital Development Fund established in 2013 which plans to deliver 450 more homes for individuals and families to help tackle the homeless crisis into the future."

He went on to say that bricks and mortar alone will not tackle the crisis.

"To deal with shortage in treatment services, we are planning to expand and redevelop our treatment facilities. In the immediate term, we are increasing our capacity by 30% in partnership with MQI.

"Looking to the future we will expand our facility in Ushers Island to provide additional post treatment beds so that Alcohol and Benzo Detoxification, Rapid Access Stabilisations, Respite Stabilisation Crisis Mental Health and Recovery services are on site. "

Mr Guinness said that keeping people in their homes and working with households at risk was a priority in 2015.

"We worked with 416 families across Dublin, Kildare Wicklow and Meath to move people out of homelessness or sustain their tenancy representing a doubling of the number of families in a year.

"Our Visiting Tenancy Support service that operates in the Dublin City Council area witnessed a 21% increase in the number of cases of those at risk.

"89% of cases were successfully sustained with people being able to stay in their homes and avoid the trauma of homelessness," he explained.