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18th Jan 2021

Rough sleepers refused accommodation in winter despite available beds

Rudi Kinsella

homeless ireland

75 beds were available, but rough sleepers were refused accommodation on cold winter nights.

Rough sleepers were refused accommodation in winter, despite beds being available and vacant, an investigation has found.

On 7 December 2020, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien told the nation on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland that nobody is being denied a hostel bed.

Days later RTÉ Investigates filmed with homeless people who tried ringing the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) looking for a bed for that night to be told they couldn’t help them.

They were told that they needed to contact their former local authority despite being on the streets in Dublin, on a winter’s night during the pandemic.

There were 75 beds empty the night one of the homeless men called the freephone number, but he was told he could not access a bed.

In an investigative documentary that will air on RTÉ tonight at 9.35pm, Minister O’Brien apologised, saying that this should not have happened, but that they “are not responsible for providing homeless accommodation for everybody in the country”.

At any one time there are roughly 3,000 homeless people availing of emergency hostel beds in Dublin.

Across Ireland, there were 56 homeless deaths in the first 11 months of 2020.

RTÉ Investigates airs on RTÉ One tonight at 9.35pm.