Record drop in number of rough sleepers in Dublin

The numbers show a 40% decrease this spring

Record drop in number of rough sleepers in Dublin

File photo

Updated: 11.00

There has been widespread welcome of new figures, which show a record decrease in the number of rough sleepers in Dublin.

The figures, published by the Department of Housing, show the number of people sleeping rough dropped from 184 in winter 2017 to 110 in spring 2018.

This is a 40% drop and the largest decrease on record.

The housing and homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust has urged the Government and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) to continue to intensify efforts to decrease the number of people sleeping rough, and "make every effort to eliminate the need to sleep rough".

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, has welcomed the latest figures.

"The latest figures show a 40% reduction in the past six months in the number of people sleeping rough, that must be welcomed and every effort must be made to decrease that figure further over the next six months ahead of winter 2018.

"The reduction is a clear result of a high intensity and assertive programme of engagement with people sleeping rough to encourage them into shelter and housing."

Mr Doyle also pointed to the coordinated response of the Peter McVerry Trust, as well as the DRHE, to Storm Emma as "a significant contributing factor" to the reduction in the number of rough sleepers.

"Peter McVerry Trust has made huge efforts to tackle the issue of rough sleeping and many of our initiatives have directly helped to reduce the number of people sleeping rough.

"The extreme weather events at the time of Storm Emma saw a major mobilisation of resources involving the DRHE and Peter McVerry Trust to get people off the street."

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"That response meant that we brought people who wouldn't normally access shelter into a professional environment where we could assess and engage them over a period of days."

The charity also highlighted the Housing First project in accelerating the delivery of tenancies for people sleeping rough.

It says 220 tenancies have been created through this programme so far.

Mr Doyle added: "The Housing First programme has been extremely effective in securing homes for people with a significant history of sleeping rough.

"Housing First provides tenants with a range of multi-disciplinary wraparound supports, which results in tenancy sustainment rates that are above international norms."

"Most vulnerable people"

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy also welcomed the reduction of 74 individuals (40%) from the last count, which took place in November 2017.

He said: "This reduction in people sleeping rough - in many ways our most vulnerable people who are homeless - is very welcome.

"It follows the dedicated and compassionate work of the DRHE working with our partner organisations to increase the services available in the Dublin Region.

"Still there’s more to do because we still have many people sleeping rough on our streets.

"Many of those accessing homeless services have complex needs and require other supports, notably health supports, to assist them to exit our homeless services.

"Housing First is best international practice for getting people out of homelessness".

"Significant positive outcome"

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and Dublin City Council (DCC) have confirmed the official spring count on rough sleeping identified 110 persons on the night of March 27th.

The DRHE has been responsible for the delivery of rough sleeping counts in Dublin since 2007.

It says of the 110 persons discovered sleeping rough:

  • 58% of people were Irish nationals, 42% were non-Irish nationals and 31 individuals did not have their nationality identified
  • 90 people were discovered in Dublin City (north and south) and the remaining 20 were located outside Dublin City, Fingal County Council, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
  • 84% were male, and 16% were female

Deputy chief executive of Dublin City Council, Brendan Kenny, said: "We have been working with our charity partners to increase emergency accommodation, and have in the last few months increased capacity by 260 permanent beds.

"This has had a significant positive outcome in terms of decreasing the numbers of people sleeping rough.

"However, the large number of people sleeping rough is still a serious area of concern and we will continue to work through the Housing First Service to engage with these people and work with them to access appropriate services."