The housing crisis in Dublin continues to escalate, with the latest figures by the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) revealing that 998 families are now in emergency accommodation in the capital, an increase of 64pc on last year.
The monthly increase of all families in emergency accommodation has gone up steadily in Dublin throughout this year.
Figures collected by the Simon charity showed the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin has reached a new high. The charity’s chief executive Sam McGuinness said the visible scale of homelessness is shocking.
“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,” he said.
“People have become trapped in the revolving door of homelessness and the short-term measure of emergency accommodation has become long term.”
A letter sent to President Higgins by a schoolgirl about her homeless family was released by Focus Ireland recently. The little girl and her family met with President Higgins on Monday at a special event hosted at Aras an Uachtarain. The heartbreaking appeal from the girl to the President highlights the stark reality faced by many families as they struggle to compete with soaring rental costs and a shortage of social housing.
It read, in part: “So Mr President I am asking for your help to help my family. Christmas is coming and I would like for us to be in a home call friends over little thinks like that mean alot when your a child.”
One homeless Dublin family of eight was accommodated in a hotel in Naas, County Kildare on Friday night but were without shelter for Saturday night due to the All-Ireland final replay putting pressure on available rooms in Dublin.
Colleen and John McDonagh and their six children, from Tallaght in Dublin, have been homeless since Monday. Last Tuesday, it was 9.10pm before they knew they had accommodation for that night. They have also been using a van temporarily borrowed from John’s employer for accommodation.
Sinn Fein TD Eoin O Broin said, “The situation will get worse over the next 12 months”.
He was aware that a large number of buy-to-let landlords were in serious mortgage difficulty and that the banks were about to move against them. He said the banks would be looking for vacant possession.
The McDonagh family’s case “is not unique”, he said. He said the latest figures did not include those temporarily accommodated with relatives. The reality was worse than published figures showed, he said.
Focus Ireland has said some homeless families in Dublin, unable to access emergency hotel accommodation, have also been “spending the night in fast-food restaurants”,
Director of advocacy with the homeless charity, Mike Allen, said that their was no leadership at national level to tackle the crisis.
He described a recent night wherea mother with a young child had, by midnight, been unable to access an emergency bed and so sought out a restaurant for overnight shelter.
He said that when all avenues are exhausted by midnight, the intake team is obliged to refer families at risk of sleeping rough to the Garda.
“However families are reluctant to go the guards because they fear social workers will be called and the children could be taken into care. We know a number have been spending the night in 24-hour fast-food restaurants, where apparently the staff look after them well.”