Tanaiste Simon Coveney, taking Leaders’ Questions in which he was asked about homelessness, he said:
“In relation to homelessness, we are making some positive progress. Rough sleepers, for example, are down by 50%..”
Mr Coveney’s comment follows Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy saying yesterday – on foot of the publication of February’s homeless figures:
“Recent indicators suggest that the number of people sleeping rough is significantly down on what it was last year. The Dublin Region Homeless Executive undertook a count of rough sleepers last night [Tuesday night] and while they have not yet verified all of the data, it appears the numbers are down approximately 50% on the count undertaken last November, when the figure stood at 184.”
Meanwhile, in relation to the count of people sleeping rough on Tuesday night…
Those working on the ground on a nightly basis were not informed of the official count nor were they asked for their expertise regarding the locations of those who are sleeping rough.Remember the night the figure comparisons should be good.#MyNameis#EnoughisEnoughhttps://t.co/ofB4OOhRLK
Homelessness is costing the state more year on year with no real-end results in fixing the problem. We cannot continue to continuously spend these excessive amounts without seeing the direction of the crisis change!
Readers may recall how The Irish Times yesterday published comments made by the outgoing chairman of the Housing Agency Conor Skehan.
Mr Skehan said some families living in emergency accommodation may be “gaming the system” by declaring themselves homeless in order to be moved up the housing waiting list.
Further to this…
At a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group this morning to review the impact of Storm Eleanor, in which Mr Murphy told journalists there was adequate preparation for the storm…
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy also told reporters he has seen no evidence of the so-called “gaming”, claimed by Mr Skehan, in his department.
Specifically asked Dep of Housing if Eoghan Murphy will distance himself from “game the system” claims. Their ‘answer’, which doesn’t answer anything, is: “Homelessness is complex. The Dep will work with all stakeholders to provide approp supports/accomm to those who need them.”
Thirty years ago, on New Year’s Eve 1987, Pete St John, poet and songwriter (of Fields of Athenry fame) wrote and performed ‘A Dublin Poem’ on the Late Late Show on the eve of Dublin’s Millennium in 1988 reflecting on Dublin’s progress.
I felt compelled and inspired to make something to contribute to the issue of homelessness in this country by making this visual poem to accompany Pete’s incredible work.
It had an item on older people losing their homes because they cannot afford to pay their rent.
Charity Alone has said the number of people, aged over 60 and on the social housing list, seeking help from Alone has grown nationally by 11.4% each year between 2013 and 2016.
In Dublin, it went up by 18% in 2015 and in 2016.
Journalist Cian McCormack spoke to a 71-year-old man called Frank who is likely to be homeless next week as the landlord of the house he has been renting for seven years wants him to leave.
Frank has been paying rent of €1,250 a month.
He gets a pension of €150 a week and does odd jobs to make up the difference to make his rent, his bills and to eat.
Frank told Mr McCormack:
“I’m running to stand still. I’m out there and like there’s some weeks, I don’t have work and sometimes the weather is against me.
“But, I mean look, for the last 10 years or so, 12 years, I’ve been lucky. There’s other people there worse than I am.
“At least I can get out of bed in the morning. But what I fear is the day I can’t get out, that I can’t make money…to pay.”
“I’ve been approved for HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] so HAP, I mean I’ve gone to a few places and looked in and the landlords just look at me and say, like, hang on, they don’t ask me personal questions because they just look at me, my age, and say, ‘what’s wrong?’, to themselves.
“There’s no feedback from them…they have my number. I just don’t get a phone call from them.”
“I have been looking around…seeing if I can get somewhere for maybe €600. They’re just laughing at me.”
Very difficult scenes as the Dáil debates child homelessness just days out from Christmas. While Housing Min @MurphyEoghan says Gov is doing all it can, FF TD @PatCaseyTD says children are being made “economic refugees” and SF TD @ImeldaMunster breaks down in tears #homelessness