Official Street Count Figures on Rough Sleeping for Winter 2013 Across the Dublin Region

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Official Street Count Figures on Rough Sleeping for Winter 2013 Across the Dublin Region

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive, today (December 3rd 2013),  released official figures from the winter (November 2013) count on rough sleeping, which confirm a minimum of 139 persons to be sleeping rough across the Dublin region on a given night. This is compared with the spring (April 2013) count, which confirmed a minimum of 94 persons to be sleeping rough.
 
The count on rough sleeping is an important element of our annual Cold Weather Initiative[1] that began on November 1st this year.
 
In order to continue the effort to respond to the significant step- up in demand for our services across the Dublin region, the four Dublin local authorities, in conjunction with voluntary homeless service providers have put in place approximately 80 additional temporary beds, since the Cold Weather Initiative began.
 
In addition to this, plans are in place to further increase emergency accommodation in the immediate period. The Health Service Executive continue to provide for the support and care for individuals accessing accommodation services.

KEY FINDINGS

Of the 139 persons confirmed sleeping rough:

  • 111 (80%) were male, 20 (14%) were female and 8 (6%) were unknown 
  • 73 (53%) persons were Irish, 39 (28%) persons were not from Ireland and 27 (19%) were unknown  
  • 34 (24%) were aged 18-30 years, 37 (27%) were aged 31-40 years, 31 (22%) were aged 41-50, 12 (9%) were aged 51-60, 3 (2%) were aged 61+ and 22 (16%) persons were unknown. 
  • 87 persons previously accessed homeless accommodation and received support,
  • 17 persons are new to homeless services and no information was available for the remaining 35 persons.

The annual Cold Weather Initiative is in place since November 1st 2013 and it will run until the end of March 2014. It provides an emergency humanitarian response to the needs of persons who may be sleeping rough during cold weather. It provides dedicated additional beds to the existing number of beds available on a nightly basis in the Dublin region. The Initiative aims to support individuals, who may not access the current range of services including persons who tend not to engage with homeless accommodation providers or day services or persons who may be ineligible in terms of social welfare benefits and find themselves in very vulnerable situations without accommodation.
 
The Housing First Demonstration Project is currently accommodating 24 persons in tenancies in the Dublin region. These persons have extensive rough sleeping and homeless histories and have significant support needs.
 
In addition to increasing emergency bed capacity, the following critical points are urgent in addressing homelessness in the Dublin region:
 
Prevention – the reasons for people becoming homeless are both complex and wide ranging.  However, there is a particular risk for families with tenancies in the private rental sector, particularly those in rent arrears and in dispute with their landlord. We urge tenants to seek assistance from housing advice services and other public services,  who can help with the challenges they are facing. We equally appeal to landlords to work to quickly resolve disputes with tenants in rental accommodation where possible and help prevent people being evicted and having to access homeless emergency accommodation services. Contact information for these services can be found on www.homelessdublin.ie
 
Housing – On average, in 2013, six individuals, who are new to homeless services are presenting on a daily basis in Dublin with only two individuals departing homeless services into housing.  
 
This scale of demand for services continues to underscore the fact that access to housing and housing supply remains the single biggest challenge facing homeless households in the Dublin region, even with the consistent work taking place with the local authorities in utilising all procurement initiatives available to them.
 
Homelessness will not be resolved unless there is a significant step -up in access to affordable and quality housing and increased provision of support to assist people in maintaining their own home.
 
Maintaining Budget Allocation – it is crucially important that financial resources are maintained in 2014, to ensure that the sector can continue to work to reduce the need to sleep rough and address homelessness through housing with support.
Homeless policy – The revised government policy takes a housing- led approach to resolving homelessness and it is core to the resolution of homelessness. All people experiencing homelessness need housing and some need support. Housing-led means providing people with a home and the visiting support they need to live as independently as possible. It must continue to be recognised that the support that people need to sustain their tenancy can vary significantly, depending on the individual’s level of need. 

ENDS

Lisa Kelleher
Head of Communications and Public Relations
Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Dublin City Council
T: 01 2226891/ 087 6154673
lisa.kelleher@dublincity.iehomeless@dublincity.ie
 
 
 
NOTES TO EDITOR
Official Rough Sleeping Counts in Dublin

 
Dublin City Council (through the Dublin Region Homeless Executive) carries out official counts on rough sleeping every six months. The street count is a way of confirming a minimum number of people sleeping rough on the night in question in the Dublin region and assists us in measuring the effectiveness of the regional strategy, in addition to planning for services
The local authority recognises that a single count only tells part of the picture; rough sleeping is a dynamic situation whereby people can spend long periods sleeping rough or on a very sporadic basis.
 
Rough Sleeping Campaign
Dublin City Council has received improved information in relation to the location of vulnerable persons who were sleeping rough across the Dublin region, particularly in less visible settings outside the city centre area. This is as a result of a Rough Sleeping Campaign coordinated by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive in conjunction with the Regional Contact and Outreach Service, since September 2013. The aim of campaign is to encourage members of the public to make contact directly through www.homelessdublin.ie  if they came in contact with a person who was sleeping rough and who is in need of an urgent response from the Regional Contact and Outreach Service (RCOS).

About the Dublin Region Homeless Executive
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory local authority in the response to homelessness in Dublin and adopts a shared service approach across South Dublin County Council, Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council.
  
The Cold Weather Initiative provides an emergency humanitarian response to the needs sleeping of persons who may be rough during cold weather providing dedicated additional beds to the existing number of beds available on a nightly basis in the Dublin region. The information was unavailable due to the fact that persons who are rough sleeping are bedded down during the time of the count (1am to 5am) and the coordinators of the count do not disturb persons when they are sleeping.

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