Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, and new figures from the Department of Housing
Just before the Fine Gael leadership debate in the Red Cow Inn, Dublin.
During which contender and Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said the party needs to represent both “the man in a sleeping bag on Grafton Street tonight as well as the man creating 1,000 jobs”.
The latest homelessness report, for the week April 24-April 30, 2017 from the Department of Housing was released, showing that the number of people who are homeless has reached a new record high of 7,680 – 4972 adults and 2,708 children.
The figure surpassed 7,000 for the first time ever in December 2016.
Further to this…
Anthony Flynn, of Inner City Helping Homeless, wrote:
The last number of days have been fairly chaotic when it comes to homelessness. Tuesday in particular, we saw the highest ever recorded number of rough sleepers and a drastic situation of no hotel/B&B accommodation for 12 families.
This led to a frenzy of supports required to be put in place and services increased to cope with demand. A number of families were referred to Garda stations as there was nowhere else to go. One such family had to be accommodated within our offices until supports could be put in place Wednesday morning. Some of those that were affected slept in tents others in cars.
How did we come to this situation?
A lack of short to medium-term planning is the best answer I can give. A complete lack of inter-agency communication and a lack of will from the powers-that-be. The eye has been taken off the ball in regard to homelessness and the long-term planning aspect has left short-term problems. Homelessness has become a crisis right across the State but hasn’t been treated as such. Our volunteers deal with thousands of individuals weekly, many of whom have become lost in a system of ‘no hope’.
I have spent the last four years in a voluntary position within Inner City Helping Homeless; I have met an abundance of people, from homeless to colleagues. I have made some great friends and am privileged to lead an organisation that shows empathy, compassion and is made up of decent human beings.
This week however, I can say that it has been the worst week I have seen within the homeless sector. Up to 30 children refused accommodation, whilst those who are charged with solving our homeless crisis enjoy their evening off.
Families sent from pillar to post in order to be left with no hope, no accommodation and no home. Homeless has become an epidemic, a plague that has spread so wide across our city and state.
Homelessness has become a business, a sector, it cost in excess of €100million a year to operate. To some that means profit, which in turn means that homelessness will remain.
This however should not take away from our responsibilities, people are suffering.
Children are being now left on the streets, a prediction that Father Peter McVerry made only a year ago. Homelessness has become socially acceptable. It has become tolerable to pass somebody by in a doorway, it has become bearable to leave families stuck in hotels, and now, this week, it has become justifiable to leave children without a bed.