Resources urgently needed to meet homeless demand

Thursday 30th May 2013

More resources are urgently needed to meet demand for emergency homeless, IMPACT’s Local Government divisional conference heard this month. Liam Wynne of Dublin City Council’s homeless accommodation services told delegates that the demand for emergency accommodation continues to soar while supply has remained static.

Speaking to a motion by Dublin City branch, which called on the union to push for increased resources for statutory homeless services, Liam said that B&B type accommodation had been the usual short-term solution for people who had become homeless, but that this has changed.

“The emergency solution has now become a long term experience for many people, and the short-term or stop gap solution is now the sleeping bag. More and more of them are being issued every week. As demand increases, the emergency solution has become much more basic, as all we can do for many people is just to make sure they stay warm at night.

“A growing number of the people I meet now are families who’ve just become homeless. It’s also becoming more obvious to me that there are a huge number of people and families who are just one pay cheque away from homelessness. That’s the real consequence of austerity.  My work each day involves looking after 300 beds across 20 units in Dublin city. Every day more and more people are knocking on the door. That’s the daily experience of all my colleagues working in homeless accommodation services” he said.

“The people I work with do their best. With ever decreasing resources we do what we can. It’s stressful and upsetting, especially when you simply don’t have a bed to give to people” he said.

Mr Wynne said that more staff were needed in order to properly deal with the volume of clients coming through the door. “That’s where the recruitment moratorium is hurting us most; more crucially, that’s where it’s hurting the most marginalised people in our society. We need more accommodation for the same reason. Becoming homeless is a devastating experience, and we do what we can to provide people’s basic needs in order that they can survive. But we also try to ensure that they maintain some dignity through one of the worst experiences in their lives.”