Simon Community warns on rough sleeping increase

The Simon Community says it recorded an 88 per cent increase in the number of sleeping in Dublin’s inner city area between July and September this year, compared the same period in 2012.

Eighty five people were found to be sleeping rough in the inner city on one night in September, which is the highest figure since the charity began keeping a record of the numbers. The early morning street counts carried out by the charity take place twice a week at 6am. Simon Community workers are represented by IMPACT.

Sam McGuinness of the Dublin Simon Community said; “We are really concerned at these trends across this narrow catchment area. The September count (September 3rd) of 85 people sleeping rough in one night is very frightening.” He said that Dublin Simon Community would see this as the absolute minimum figure, as the early morning counts do not include people considered the “hidden homeless” who are couch surfing, staying in squats, hospitals, internet cafes or temporary B&Bs. “The need for accommodation and assistance for those with no where to go, and whose existence has become harsh and dangerous, is the highest we have ever seen.

“What is extremely worrying is that many people who have accessed our emergency accommodation do not have the suitable housing they require. In present uncertain times, with limited emergency accommodation, housing shortage, rent increases and rent allowance restrictions, the pressure for beds is frantic. People are now compelled to stay longer in poor emergency facilities or resort to sleeping in doorways and squats” he said.

Mr McGuinness added; “We are cognisant of the fact that bricks and mortar alone will not solve homelessness. Our efforts will be enhanced by offering support to those who move on from homelessness and by providing preventative measures ensuring people do not become homeless at all. Tens of thousands of us are just one pay cheque, one social welfare payment, one family problem, one health diagnosis, one mortgage repayment away from becoming homeless.”

The organisation warned that the Government’s plan to end long term homelessness by 2016 was “in serious jeopardy” as it launched its annual review today (Tuesday 24th September). You can download a copy of the review HERE.