Henry Street, Dublin 1.
Eileen Gleeson, Director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE). Dublin City Council, through the DHRE, is the lead local authority in the response to Homelessness in Dublin.
Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, said long-term homelessness resulting from years of “bad behaviour” cannot be solved by the efforts of “ad hoc” unauthorised groups.
“Let’s be under no illusion here, when somebody becomes homeless it doesn’t happen overnight, it takes years of bad behaviour probably, or behaviour that isn’t the behaviour of you and me,” she told Dublin City Council’s policing committee.
“They’re afraid to come in, they’re reluctant, they’re quite happy to continue with the chaotic lifestyle they have. If somebody provides them with some sort of halfway shelter they’ll willingly take it.”
Homeless people are “entitled to dignity”, she said, but they must be linked up with expert staff who can break the cycle and get them off the streets permanently. “If they’re only getting a cup of soup and they’re homeless it isn’t helpful,” she told councillors.
“Some of this narrative has seeped into international coverage of our housing system and is damaging to Ireland’s international reputation, that our social response to this issue is being portrayed as dysfunctional.
As Teachta Dála we have a responsibility in this regard and the good work being done in difficult circumstances needs to be recognised.”
Junior Housing Minister Damien English in the Dáil last night.
John Byrne on Connell Bridge, Dublin in 2011
John Byrne at the Royal Canal yesterday
Royal Canal, Dublin 7
Members of the Polish community in Dublin donated a new tent and provisions for John Byrne who has been homless for 25 years. J
ohn famously saved a rabbit from the River Liffey in 2011.
Sam Boal, of Rollingnews, writes:
As a press photographer I cover a lot of different events; including a lot of heartbreaking stories. This is one such heartbreaking story. John says he has been homeless for the last 25 years.
He’s now living in a tent on the side of the Royal Canal beside Mountjoy Prison, with his mate Daryl and his dogs. I have to admit before doing this assignment I was a bit nervous to approach it.
Everyone has their own idea of what could happen and what people might be like. At first I didn’t recognise John at all, but he recognised me; which took me by surprise. Quickly he let me spend some time with him, whilst members of the Polish community helped to set up a new tent and provisions which they had gathered together to help John move from a one-man to a bigger two-man tent.
John came to public attention in 2011 when he jumped into the River Liffey in Dublin to save his rabbit which had been thrown into the water.
With all the media attention and the fact that he was homeless, most people might have assumed that help for him was not far off.
Unfortunately, seven years on John is still homeless and sheltering in a donated tent.
John and Daryl are accompanied by his four dogs; most of whom have been rescued from the streets. His compassion for his animals is infectious John says that his dogs keep him safe; barking at everything.
They also keep off the massive river rats, which he describes as being two hands big, and that swarm over the canal banks in the early hours of the morning.
Dogs, we say, are ‘man’s best friend.’ For John that seems to be the case. His dogs are better friends to him than any human.
Over the course of our conversation I photographed set up shots, but the one above was natural.
John just picked up his dog and his dog’s gratitude and love shines through. As a press photographer I try to highlight a story in the best way I can. Sometimes this requires a measure of setup due to time constraints and deadlines. I hope that this is not just a nice picture.
I hope it might just help John and those like him to get the proper accommodation they need. I am not naive: it requires more than houses to solve the issue of homelessness.
However people living in our capital city in tents – whose dogs are better friends than any human – is not my idea of a solution either.
— ICHHDUBLIN (@ICHHDUBLIN) November 1, 2017
Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, writes:
Crisis intervention is now required.
Dublin area 199 another record
— ICHHDUBLIN (@ICHHDUBLIN) November 1, 2017
Adair Lane Temple Bar, Dublin 2 this morning
A garda spokesman said: “We are investigating the sudden death of a man at Adair Lane in Temple Bar, Dublin.”
“His death is not believed to be suspicious. He is yet to be identified.”
The Dublin Simon Community sent their condolences to the man’s family this morning.
…[Simon’s] Sam McGuinness said:
“People are tired, they are undernourished, their medication may not be used and they are open to other exposures like alcohol or drugs.”
A 23-year-old was pronounced dead after being found unconscious on Mill Lane at 9:45pm last night.
The man was rushed from Mill Lane to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda by ambulance. He was subsequently pronounced dead by medical staff.
Donal Moloney writes:
Meanwhile, at the back of Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre [Dublin 2] aver the weekend..
The former B & B in St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3 purchased by Dublin City Council last December to remodel as a family hub for 13 families
Millions have been spent on one house to cater for emergency accommodation.
So why does it resemble a building site?
A St Lawrence Road Resident writes:
On December 16, 2016, a B&B on St Lawrence Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3 was purchased for the Homeless Executive of Dublin City Council.
The transaction was rushed. No survey was done. Neither Councillors nor St. Lawrence Road residents were consulted. Planning Permission was not sought.
All because the Homeless Executive was determined to respond – swiftly and decisively – to Minister Simon Coveney’s directive about moving families out of hotels and B&Bs.
However, transformation of the houses into a “Family Hub” – only began in mid-April 2017.
Admittedly, since then the pace of work has been relentless. Builders and sub-contractors have laboured to adapt the houses to suit the needs of 13 families.
But work has been disrupted by the discovery of numerous, serious defects.
Residents warnings – that Victorian, terraced houses are, structurally and environmentally, unsuitable for Family Hub use – had been ignored by DCC.
With an unlimited budget and no accountability to elected representative, officials have discovered, the “hard way”, that such warnings were fully justified….
…which brings us to this picture (above) taken on September 10 – nine months after the purchase of the houses. €3 million – allocated to helping the homeless – has been squandered on the effective destruction of two houses, in an area zoned for preservation.
Not one homeless family has been sheltered. €3 million could have bought ten semidetached homes, or fifteen apartments, ready for immediate occupation. But those in charge of public money are not very practical, or competent.
So, the Homelessness Crisis will be with us for a very long time.
Previously: There Goes The Neighbourhood
Pics via author
This just in.
Homelessness figures for July 2017 from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Read ’em and weep.
Another reported death in homeless services under tragic circumstances has become evident today. This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/9fp8PJ8T0Y
— Anthony Flynn (@AnthonyICHH) September 6, 2017
A suspected suicide at St Peter’s Place, a Depaul hostel in the YMCA building off Aungier Street, Dublin 2.
More as we get it.
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy at the launch of 63-house build in Carlow last month
On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.
RTÉ’s Education Correspondent Emma O’Kelly spoke to a homeless family who is living in a hotel.
One person Ms O’Kelly spoke to from the family was a young female student.
The girl told Ms O’Kelly:
“Definitely, the past year, it’s been a very huge eye-opener. It’s a huge culture shock and a huge change to how it was for us.
“It’s hard to fit in and to find someone who will accept you and your troubles and, if you get to the stage where you can open up about this situation and the homeless, it’s still the sense will they still be your friend? Or will they find you scum?”
“It’s hard to pick the good people from the bad people and then finding it hard to come out to teachers you’ve never met before… It took me about five or 10 minutes there earlier on to say that I was homeless to my deputy principal. She kept saying to me, ‘take your time’, ‘take your time’ and I just couldn’t say it.
“I could barely say it to her when I did say it so it’s very hard.”
Asked what she would like for her and her family, she said:
“To get our home, to get our space back. Even if it’s, I don’t know, if it was just our privacy back, it’d be ten times better than what we have now because there is no privacy here.
“There’s no time, peaceful time.”
Asked what she would say to either a Government minister or the Taoiseach if she had the opportunity, she said:
“Give us our home, please. We need it. We need it as soon as possible.”
Listen back in full here
Further to this.
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy spoke to Áine Lawlor during News At One.
From the interview…
Aine Lawlor: “You can’t give her a home, can you? Right now?”
Eoghan Murphy: “I think, Aine, the piece that was broadcast this morning, on Morning Ireland, which we just heard a clip from there, it’s probably one of the most important contributions to this debate that we’ve heard in the past number of months.
“We have a crisis in homelessness and we’ve known that for quite some time and we’re putting in a huge amount of effort and resources to try and help these families who are in this absolutely appalling situation.
“Now those people who’ve been working on the frontline, in a voluntary sector or in local authorities or with me in my department, to try and find these solutions, they’ve heard these stories. I’ve had the opportunity myself to meet with some of these families.
“But the bravery they had this morning to come out and tell the country about their particular circumstances, I think was very brave but very important that people understand what these families are facing because…”
Lawlor: “The problem is not understanding, Minister. The problem is we have a bright, capable young woman living in these circumstances, who believes other people see her as scum because Government can’t deliver on housing and we have, you know, you can say we’re making all kinds of improvements, but are you not just drowning a little bit more slowly, is that not the case?”
Murphy: “With respect Aine, I don’t think everyone does understand what these families are going through, who are living in hotels, and who are going to school, their first day back and actually said, coming out to her deputy principal about the difficult circumstances she is facing, because the amount of feedback is generated already this morning, into the department.”
“We have a particular problem here that has been growing over the course of the year, as more and more families have presented with homelessness. ”
Lawlor: “It’s up by 30% in one year. No matter what you do, the problem seems to be getting worse, not better.”
Murphy: “Well, thankfully, we’ve been able to put in resources to at least make sure they’re not out rough on the streets, we’re able to put them into hotels and put the wraparound services around those hotels. What we’re trying to do is move these families then into permanent sustainable, long-term accommodation. So, if you look at the 12 months, up until the end of May, 1,200 families were removed from hotels, or prevented from entering them. At the end of May though, we still had 650 families still in hotels.
“We have a pathway for those families out of those hotels into social housing homes, into the private rental sector and into hubs.
“But people continue to present and that’s the purpose, I suppose of the summit that was organised over the summer, is to bring the local authorities together, to make sure we are going to be able to deal with this problem.”
Murphy: “We have build more social housing homes and we’re doing that. And at the moment, I’m in negotiations with Paschal Donoghue about how we’re going to, hopefully, scale up our ambition in that regard but there’s not much I can say about that at the moment because we’re at that sensitive stage of those negotiations but in a few weeks time I’ll be announcing my review of Rebuilding Ireland which is a plan which is working. But to see how we can improve it.”
Murphy: “Earlier this summer, when I talked about enhanced CPO [Compulsory Purchase Orders] powers, another broadcaster compared me to Adolf Hitler. I mean we have a crisis here, we need to look at things that maybe we haven’t looked at before to make sure we can properly house families like those that were on the radio this morning.”
Murphy: “There are a lot of vested interests in this area. If I was to start flagging things to you now, that we’re going to do in the next three or four weeks, they would rally against, potentially try and stop the things that we want to do so I have to be careful…”
Listen back to News At One in full here
Earlier: The Good News Unit