Record decrease in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin recorded in last six months
The decrease is down to a number of factors, the CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust believes.
A record decrease in the official number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has been documented in the past six months.
According to new figures published by the Department of Housing on Friday, the number of people sleeping rough dropped from 184 in the winter of 2017 to 110 in the spring of 2018, a 40% decrease and the largest decrease on record.
Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, has welcomed the news as they continue to urge the government and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) to intensify efforts to eliminate the need to sleep rough.
Pat Doyle, CEO of the charity, said they are committed to doing everything possible to keep that figure down with the help of the DRHE and Department of Housing.
“The latest figures show a 40% reduction in the past 6 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," he said.
"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 pointed to the work of Peter McVerry Trust as well as the DRHE’s coordinated response 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," Doyle explained.
"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."
"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. Ultimately, it allowed us to secure new accommodation for an additional 60 people who would normally have slept rough in Dublin.”
The concentration on attempts to accommodate rough sleepers during the storm saw the number of sleepers reduce from 30 on the night of 28 February (when the storm hit) to 14 the following night, as the weather intensified.
Initiatives such as Dublin City Council’s rough sleeper alert system, and highly focused efforts on the part of homeless services proved to have an important impact on reducing the numbers on the streets at that time.
Doyle also highlighted the positive impact that the new National Director for Housing First, Bob Jordan, has made in accelerating the delivery of tenancies for people sleeping rough.
“The Housing First project, funded by the DRHE and delivered by Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland, has made massive strides in the past 12 months in increasing the number of new homes secured for people sleeping rough. 220 tenancies have been created through this programme so far, and we are working to increase this amount on a daily basis.”
“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."
Doyle said a further intensification of efforts could deliver further decreases in the coming months.
“We must ensure this reduction is the start of a sustained decrease in the number of people sleeping rough, every effort and resource must be put into getting people off the street and into their own home.”