35% increase in number of Dublin rough sleepers since last year

The latest official count shows that 138 people slept on the streets of the capital on the night of April 4th

35% increase in number of Dublin rough sleepers since last year

Photo: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

There's been a 35% increase in the number of rough sleepers in Dublin in the past year.

Latest figures show 138 people slept on the streets of Dublin on the night of April 4th - the highest ever recorded for this time of year.

The figures are reported in the official Spring 2017 rough sleeper count.

While the number is slightly down on the 142 rough sleepers recorded in the last count on November 22nd last year, it marks a significant increase on last April's count of 102 people.

Responding to the figures, Pat Doyle - CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust - said: “We are obviously disappointed with the latest count.

“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.”

He added: "With the addition of 220 beds which came in over the Christmas across the sector - of which 94 were brought in by the Trust - we would have hoped the number would have been down."

Meanwhile, the latest country-wide homeless figures from the Department of Housing show there are 1,256 homeless families in Ireland - including more than 2,500 children in emergency accommodation.

Responding to the latest figures, Housing Minister Simon Coveney said: The figures for March are a stark indicator of the challenges we face as we remain focussed and determined to address this problem. The 3,052 households who exited homelessness in 2016 is a substantial increase on the 2,300 exits achieved in 2015."

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said: "It is past time for the Minister to review his failing homelessness strategy. 

“Minister Coveney must make a statement in the Dáil next week as to why homeless levels are continuing to rise. He must also clearly explain how his Department plans to meet the commitment that no families would be living in hotels and B&Bs by July this year.”