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A third of Irish children are at risk of poverty. Thats one of
the highest rates in Europe.

According to new figures from Eurostat, 34% of children

here are at risk of poverty, compared with the EU average
of 28%.
The survey was referred to by the European Parliament
this week.
The figures were a stark reminder that the Government
can do more to combat child poverty and social exclusion,
said Focus Ireland advocacy and communications
manager, Roughan MacNamara.
One of the worst forms of marginalisation is not having a
home and, sadly, there are more than 1,500 children, and
up to 800 families, homeless nationwide. Childhood should
be a time for children to enjoy and for young people to
feel safe in their own homes.
However, the reality is that, tonight alone, there will be
over 1,500 children and their families who have no place
to call home, he said.
Focus Ireland said it has seen the impact of rising poverty
and the numbers at risk it has recorded a 44% rise in
the numbers seeking its support, from 8,000 in 2012 to

11,500 last year.

Meanwhile, new research from Barnardos revealed that
one in six children in Ireland is living in a household that
suffers food poverty.

Children from the poorest households were found to be

twice as likely to have a low birth weight as those in the
wealthiest households.
The study also found that childrens maths and reading
scores increase by 4% for every 1% more their parents
The study was revealed at the groups Rise Up conference,
which focused on uncovering the impact of inequality on
children. The conference featured international experts,
national authorities and young people themselves.
Barnardos CEO, Fergus Finlay, said a century after the
1916 Rising, Ireland had failed to honour the pledge to
cherish all the children of the nation equally.
Our research reveals those in the poorest households
spend seven times more of their disposable income on
fuel and light than those in the wealthiest households; one
in six children is now living in a household experiencing
food poverty and households with children are 89% more
likely to be in rent or mortgage arrears than those
Barnardos head of advocacy, June Tinsley, said that with
the economy moving in the right direction, the
Government had a chance to turn the tide of inequality.

More than 2,500 children will be homeless in Ireland on

Christmas day.

Some are almost 70 families who became homeless last

Focus Ireland yesterday said a further 67 families were
added to Dublins homeless list during October.
The homeless support agencys director of advocacy, Mike
Allen, said: It is terrible to see, during the last year, the
number of children who are homeless and living in
emergency accommodation in Dublin has more than
doubled from 1,343 to 2,110.
Christmas should be one of the happiest times of year
for children and their families. However, it truly awful to
realise that over 2,500 children will be homeless this
Christmas Day. This is wrong and it is totally
During the first 10 months of 2016, Focus Ireland helped
230 families move out of homelessness into secure
However, as at least two families are still becoming
homeless every single day the crisis continues to deepen,
said Mr Allen.
Increasing rents and a growing number of buy-to-let
homes being either repossessed or sold is causing a

constant rise in the numbers being forced into

Focus Ireland called for urgent action from the
Government to stem the level of evictions, particularly
from buy-to-let landlords.
There are over 15,000 buy-to-let landlords who are in
arrears by over two years. Banks and financial institutions
are repossessing these homes and evicting the tenants at
a rate of 100 a month, said Mr Allen.
We are calling on the Government to outlaw this practice
and ensure, where banks repossess such properties, they
sell them on with the tenant still in place.
The Tnaiste Frances Fitzgerald has described as "a slight
increase" a rise of more than a third in the number of
homeless people in Dublin.
The figures published yesterday show a 35% increase year
on year, while the number of children in emergency
accommodation has gone from just over 900 to more than
2,100 in the past year.
The issue was raised by Fianna Fil in the Dil today, but
Ms Fitzgerald appeared to play down the rising numbers of
She told the Dil: "The new figures we have today are
October figures. There is a slight increase, but it does
show that there is a slowdown in the rate of increase and
that has to be welcomed.
"Of course none of us want to see families having to go
into homeless accommodation or hotel accommodation,
and the minister has made it absolutely clear that his
intention is, and I am sure everybody here would share it,
that no family would have to go into hotel

Tnaiste Frances Fitzgerald has described as a slight

increase a rise of more than a third in the number of
homeless people in Dublin.

The figures published yesterday show a 35% rise year on

year, while the number of children in emergency
accommodation has gone from just over 900 to more than
2,100 in the past year.
The issue was raised by Fianna Fil yesterday in the Dil,
but Ms Fitzgerald appeared to play down the rising
numbers of homeless.

She said: The new figures we have today are October

figures. There is a slight increase, but it does show that
there is a slowdown in the rate of increase and that has to
be welcomed.
Of course, none of us want to see families having to go
into homeless accommodation or hotel accommodation,
and the minister has made it absolutely clear that his
intention is, and I am sure everybody here would share it,
that no family would have to go into hotel
She was responding to questions from Fianna Fils Barry
Cowen, who was less than impressed with her answer to
his question.
The Tnaistes comment on the homeless figures reminds
me of a comment Garret FitzGerald once made about
inflation when he spoke of a decelerating rate of
acceleration. They sound somewhat similar to say the
least, said Mr Cowen.
Yesterday the homeless figures rose again by 35%. There
were 1,026 families and 2,110 children homeless in
Dublin. Despite all the apparent efforts that are being
made to provide homes for people, this is an increase of
48% on last Octobers figures.
Mr Cowen said a major part of the housing crisis is the lack
of supply and Wednesdays announcement by the Central
Bank is an effort to address it. The Central Bank
economists found that the average first-time buyer would
have to save 64,000.
However, the new requirements will still prohibit those
who own apartments from buying a modest house to
accommodate a growing family. They are the biggest
losers in yesterdays announcement, Mr Cowen said.
Ms Fitzgerald claimed initially that already this year, 320
rapid-build units have been provided.
When pressed on this by Mr Cowen, she clarified that they
will have started construction by year end.
Clare Daly raised the issue of large solvent companies
closing defined benefit pension schemes, and referred to
last weeks decision by Independent News and Media to
close its scheme without consultation.
INM unilaterally closed its defined benefit scheme on the
back of a 23m shortfall, despite the fact that this was the

company that got a 140m bailout from the taxpayer,

said Ms Daly.
There was no discussion and no alternative provided. It
was simply gone. It is the latest solvent employer to shut
down a pension scheme because it does not want to foot
the bill.
President Michael D Higgins has lashed out at Irelands
growing poverty crisis after revealing that a Dublin city
food centre is handing out 1,700 food parcels for working
and homeless people every week a rate 400% higher
than in 2008.

President Higgins outlined the situation as homeless

campaigner Br Kevin Crowley said his Capuchin day centre
group is providing 560 dinners and nappies for almost 100
families every week, contradicting claims the recession is
Speaking at the 250th anniversary of the opening of the
Presentation Primary School in Dublins inner city on the
same day as new Central Bank mortgage rules were
published, Mr Higgins said Irelands wealth gap
challenge remained an ever-apparent threat.
Calling on those in positions of power to address growing
housing, rental and homelessness crisis both in the capital
and across the country, he angrily said what is happening
to thousands of people today is entirely unacceptable.
I was at the Capuchin food centre this morning, they

serve 540 breakfasts, give out 1,700 food parcels. Its not
good enough for me to say this is what is done and pay
tribute to those doing this. There is a bigger challenge, to
be able to eliminate poverty, to be able to set housing in a
way that people have expectations, shelter, are able to
send their children to school.

President Michael D Higgins

Br Kevin [who runs the Capuchin day centre] gave me an
example of someone who is not able to bring home one
carton of milk because there isnt a fridge. This is 2016,
100 years after 1916. It is not acceptable. So there is the
The comments were repeated by Br Kevin, who was also
attending the 250th anniversary of the opening of the
Presentation Primary School and said the demand for his
groups services both from working families and
homeless people is 400% higher than in 2008.
In 2016, each morning we have about 300 people for
breakfast and thats anything from 500 to 560 for dinner,
six days a week, and then on a Wednesday we give out
food parcels.
Up to the time of the recession, when it began in 2008,
we gave out about 400 food parcels and now on any
Wednesday morning it would be 1,700.
Not all of these people are homeless, some are people
who have lost their jobs and are on the verge of losing

their homes.
He said he remains deeply concerned that despite
widespread attention to house price rises, the rental crisis
and the linked escalation of homelessness, the issue is
failing to be properly addressed, leaving young families to
grow up in avoidable hardship. We are really concerned
about the number of families coming each day for food,
nappies and baby food, up to 80 a week. Its absolutely
appalling we have little children in this day and age
staying in hotels, people sleeping in parks. It is appalling,
he said.
Simon Community on the streets of Cork at dawn for the
beginning of their working day.

The city is waking. At 6.30am, the streets are deserted,

apart from a few delivery men on early runs.
Midweek, there are no night-before stragglers, and the
crows and herons who pick over discarded chip bags at
the weekend are absent too, still sleeping in their cannily
concealed nests.
Kasia Stubba and Denise Cremin peer into doorways and
the spaces behind civic buildings.
They are looking for rough sleepers, who are also cannily
concealed, but Kasia and Denise, Cork Simon Communitys
outreach team, know where to find them.
Kasia gently lifts the duvet from the head of a man

sleeping in a gateway and says his name; the Simon team

know everyone by name.
John, how are you? Are you all right?
The man stirs and mutters a sleepy response; Kasia and
Denise quietly move on.

Kasia Stubba and Denise Cremin: There are people who

come from industrial schools and backgrounds of
institutional abuse as well as people with a family
background of addiction.
Once a week they walk and drive the city before the start
of their day shift in Cork Simons emergency shelter on
Andersons Quay to reach out to rough sleepers, offering
day services such as a meal, shower facilities, and access
to specialist services that Cork Simon provides, such as inhouse medical help, treatment for addiction, and
employment training.
There are people who dont use the day service and this
is our way to connect with them, says Kasia.
We check all the regular places, but sometimes we get
calls from people saying theyve seen someone
somewhere specific.
People new to sleeping rough, or those whove been
refused a bed in Andersons Quay, often sleep within a
short distance of the shelter, bedding down under security
cameras for safety, while the more experienced have their

own spots away from prying eyes.

When Cork Simon launched its annual report in early July,
it confirmed what the outreach team already knew about
the numbers; 2015 was the busiest year on record for the

Cork Simon Centre, Andreson Quay

The number of people sleeping rough in the city increased
nearly tenfold in four years, from 38 in 2011 to 345 in
1,298 people used the charitys services in 2015, including
a core of 398 who slept at the emergency shelter, where
the occupancy rate was 114%. The 44-bed facility slept 50
per night.
To Kasia and Denise, who turn people seeking a bed away
every day, in the knowledge they will have to take their
chances on the streets, this is the frontline.
Pressure on bed spaces in the emergency shelter stems
from the housing crisis; 25 to 30 of the 50 people who
sleep at the shelter each night fit the government
definition of long-term homeless and many occupy a bed
for months as they struggle to find accommodation.
Now theres an average of 15 people sleeping rough on
the city streets each night, vulnerable to attack, health
and hygiene issues, and the lure of substance abuse.
Mental health issues and addictions are rife among the
people most familiar to Kasia and Denise.

They often have to refuse beds to rough sleepers whove

been drinking.

The long-term homeless are often caught in a vicious

circle of emotional distress and self-medication.
There are people who come from industrial schools and
backgrounds of institutional abuse as well as people with a
family background of addiction, says Denise.
Then there are those who fall into substance abuse to
cope with the pressures and insecurity of life on the
Despite all the frustration, there are still successes:
Recently, Kasia and Denise found permanent
accommodation for a man who had over-wintered in a
shelter on the Marina walk.
He wasnt interested in coming in to the shelter. We kept
going down to visit him, and now hes housed in one of our
residential projects. It took time to build up that trust. He
sees youre not giving up.
The man was assaulted where he was sleeping. Frightened
by the attack, he moved to Patrick Street and when Kasia
and Denise tracked him down again, he was ready to
accept help.

Outreach run over, Kasia and Denise have counted nine

rough sleepers, but there are more; for their own safety,
they dont go into squats, and in the milder summer
weather, some rough sleepers move out to the outskirts of
the city to sleep in tents.
Back in Andersons Quay, a clean-cut man with his
possessions neatly folded in a paper bag is one of the few
willing to share his story.
George, from Poland, wont use his real name or be
photographed; being recognised as homeless would ruin
his chances of finding work.
He sleeps in a tent 6km outside the city and doesnt drink
or do drugs.
He uses the day services at the shelter for personal
hygiene for presenting for job interviews, or simply to
expand his options of places to go: If you smell you cant
go anywhere, not even into a caf because youll be asked
to leave.
In his last job, which he held down for a year-and-a-half,
his low income and lack of guaranteed working hours
meant he could never save enough for a deposit.
In winter, sometimes I had to pay for a hotel because I
was getting sick. But I was on less than 300 per week,
he says.
Sen was a painter and tiler by trade who lost his job at
the beginning of the economic downturn and lapsed into
heroin addiction.

He had been living with his mother but when she died in
2014, a family dispute saw her house sold; Sen had
received treatment for his addiction by then, but ended up
on the streets and has lived in the Cork Simon shelter
since January.

He worries about ending up back on the streets, but the

private rental market is merciless, he says: I went to look
at a flat last week and when I mentioned rent allowance,
the landlord put the rent up by 80 on the spot. I turned
around and left.
Dermot Kavanagh has been the director of Cork Simon for
five years, through the worst of the housing crisis.
Its appalling to see the scale of the suffering thats going
on for people. Its relatively straightforward to address the
problem, the solutions are well-known and theres no
mystery about it.
What works is what is termed a Housing First approach,
says Dermot.
We need to house people as quickly as possible without
any pre-conditions. You provide support in the housing,
effectively bypassing the whole shelter system.
Battling complex health and addiction problems and a
lifetime pattern of institutionalisation is simply not
possible while sleeping rough or in the stressful
environment of a shelter.
Once someone is in housing it has a stabilising effect on
people; your home is where you relax, recharge your

batteries, and prepare yourself for challenges, says

In 2006, author Malcolm Gladwell penned an article for the
New Yorker called Million-dollar Murray.
Two police officers working in Reno, Nevada, calculated
that one of their long-term homeless service users cost
the state $1m in hospital bills, emergency
accommodation, and other services.
They noted that for the same cost, he could have been
provided with an apartment of his own and round-theclock care, instead of the cycle of binge drinking,
hospitalisation and arrests that constituted the decade
before his death.

It cost us one million dollars not to do something about

Murray, ran the articles tagline.
Cork Simon spent 8.5m last year, 5.4m on staff costs.
Dermots own salary is 89,000 per annum, which, he
says, is in line with anyone else in the sector running a
service of the size and complexity of this organisation.
The 1,298 individuals who used Simons services in 2015
cost the charity alone 6,550 each, without factoring in
other costs such as admissions to hospital emergency
departments and other emergency services.
Before any humanitarian considerations, purely on a
pragmatic basis, Dermot says that Gladwells article is
accurate; its costing more to provide shelter beds than it
would to provide housing.

And Housing First works: We housed 17 people in 2013

and two years later, 80% were still housed, he says.
Its great to hear Simon Coveney talk about 47,000 units
of social housing but the previous minister promised
35,000 in 2014, he says.
Two years later, 75 to 80 units were completed. We dont
want to be here in 2018 with another 100 built. The
minister is going to have to pay a lot of attention to
Rather than propping up another building boom, it is also
important that there are incentives to make use of the
4,500 vacant properties within the city bounds, and the
22,000 in Co Cork,
Dermot says: You could look at introducing a tax on
properties that remain vacant for 18 months. For landlords
who cant afford to bring a property to rental standard,
there could be tax reliefs or incentives through local
authorities to help with that.
Traveller homelessness is a hidden crisis which is not
reflected accurately in official State figures, and which is
causing serious health concerns including suicide,
research has found.

A soon-to-be published report, Traveller Homelessness:

Qualitative Research in County Offaly, finds that
homelessness among Travellers is significantly

underestimated and is heightened by widespread

discrimination and institutional racism.
Research consultant Niamh Murphy, who carried out the
study, said within county Offaly, 19.1% of homeless
presentations to the council are Travellers, yet they
account for only 1.3% of the population overall.
This is an alarming figure, given the overall percentage of
Travellers in the county, Ms Murphy said, adding that its
important to note that local authorities (LAs) will only have
data on people who approach them for support. Ms
Murphy said Travellers are easily excluded from the
statutory definition of homelessness because of the nature
of their lives, and also because of how LAs define
homelessness. She said the interpretation of
homelessness used in Offaly is very narrow, and the
assessment of housing need is underestimating the issue
of homelessness.
Some were living on unofficial sites, some were living in
extremely overcrowded accommodation, some were living
in temporary accommodation, and some were recently
housed by the local authority, she said. Their day-to-day
lives are very difficult. On unofficial sites there are no
toilets, no refuse collection, there is nowhere to store food,
so costs increase.

Ms Murphy, who carried out the research on behalf of the

Offaly Traveller Movement, said health issues are of great
concern, including recurring kidney infections in children
with no access to toilets, and mental health issues.

The mental health and suicide issue blew me away, said

Ms Murphy.
A lot of people spoke about how being a Traveller is so
much more difficult than when they were young. There is a
sense of giving up on being able to maintain a nomadic
culture. People have no other option but to take a house,
and that is very isolating for them.
She said one family who had been experiencing
homelessness for two years and moved into private rented
The deposit was paid, but when the landlord found out
they were Travellers, he said he didnt want them there,
she said.
There can be different periods of homelessness for
people throughout their livesthe lack of culturally
appropriate accommodation is a big issue.
The research will make a number of recommendations,
one of which is that homeless family units be provided as
a matter of urgency, as there is currently nowhere in the
midlands region that can accommodate a homeless family
or a man with children.
The only homeless units available are for men only,
women only, or women and children. The only emergency
accommodation that families can utilise are B&Bs.
However, the local authority have a limited budget for
B&B accommodation and are only supposed to use it in
exceptional circumstances for very short periods of time
(around three nights), the research notes.
The report will also recommend more joined-up thinking
between the Homeless Action Plans and the Traveller
Accommodation Programme.
The Tnaiste Frances Fitzgerald has described as "a slight
increase" a rise of more than a third in the number of
homeless people in Dublin.
The figures published yesterday show a 35% increase year
on year, while the number of children in emergency
accommodation has gone from just over 900 to more than
2,100 in the past year.
The issue was raised by Fianna Fil in the Dil today, but
Ms Fitzgerald appeared to play down the rising numbers of

She told the Dil: "The new figures we have today are
October figures. There is a slight increase, but it does
show that there is a slowdown in the rate of increase and
that has to be welcomed.
"Of course none of us want to see families having to go
into homeless accommodation or hotel accommodation,
and the minister has made it absolutely clear that his
intention is, and I am sure everybody here would share it,
that no family would have to go into hotel

From crisis pregnancy to homelessness, to men seeking

abortion counselling family support service Anew has
evolved to serve a much more diverse client profile than it
did when its doors first opened 30 years ago,

Abortion counselling isnt something we automatically

associate with men, but such is the changing face of crisis
pregnancy services.
In fact, its not just the clients who have diversified: the
services have too in the case of Anew, formally known as
Life Pregnancy Care, where homelessness can be as
problematic as the pregnancy itself for many women.
Deirdre Shanahan, a psychotherapist with Anew since
2008, says the client profile has changed substantially in
the 30 years since they first opened their doors, when
most of the women crossing the threshold were single,
ashamed, and fearful of societal condemnation and family
The first type of user would probably have been a single
woman who was or wasnt in a relationship, who just
couldnt go home and tell anyone she was pregnant, says
Deirdre. There was the shame but also the fear that they
wouldnt be accepted, that there wouldnt be an
acceptance in the family that this had happened.
What would often happen is the girl would go on to get
married. If she was single she would go into a marriage
that she possibly didnt want to go into, but it made the
pregnancy acceptable because there wasnt a baby born
out of wedlock.
Things have moved on, Deirdre says, from changing moral
beliefs to the reduced impact of church on society to the

changed status of women.

I think the key thing is that women have gained more of a
voice in society, they know they can make choices around
their own life and are free to make those choices and they
make them every single day, she says.


Lynn Casey, 21, from Greenmount, Cork City, made the
choice to keep the baby she conceived at age 15. Anew
was instrumental in helping her cope with the shock of
discovering she was pregnant.
I was 15, nearly 16. I came into Anew with my boyfriend
and we did a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was
gobsmacked, I couldnt talk. My boyfriend nearly fainted.
Deirdre [Shanahan] was really calming, very
understanding, completely neutral. She talked me through
all my options and how to tell my parents.
I was actually so terrified I couldnt get the words out. But
Anew had given me a sheet of paper with the pregnancy
test result and advice about who to contact so I literally
threw that at my mother and ran. It was probably not the
best way to break the news.
Anew had advised Lynn to pay a return visit and when she
did she told them how upset her mother was. They
suggested she come in too.
We were able to go in together and they were able to talk
to her as well about what she felt which was really helpful
because obviously everyone was asking about me, says
Lynn. But its something that affects the whole family,
and they realised that and they reached out to my family
Lynn continued to avail of counselling sessions and also
attended prenatal classes. Anew contracts a midwife who
covers exactly the same modules as given at Cork
University Maternity Hospital (CUMH).
In fact, the prenatal classes ares open to anyone and
Anew get a lot of referrals from CUMH.
Cynthia Roche, project worker with Anew, is passionate
about the birth preparation course, which grows in
popularity every year.
Last year we offered the programme to about 305
women. They came from all over, says Cynthia. We
identified a couple of years ago that there was a huge hub

around Carrigtwohill and Cobh and we went out to

Carrigtwohill and did outreach there from the local family
resource centre because we knew there was a community
of people who needed the programme.
Cynthia runs a parenting group in Carrigtwohill.
If youre experiencing a crisis because you are pregnant,
it doesnt automatically leave when you have the baby, so
the parenting programme is a nice progression, she says.
Lynn was delighted to avail of the prenatal classes. The
upshot of her pregnancy, supported throughout by her
then boyfriend, was a bouncing baby boy, Alex, now aged
five. Although Lynn and Alexs father did not stay together,
they remain firm friends and he is actively involved in his
sons life.
Lynn, who had Alex in 5th year, returned to school in 6th
year to do her Leaving Certificate, achieving a
commendable 440 points. She started out doing earth
science in UCC but is switching this year to social science
because she wants to do something more meaningful.
Lynn has a message for other young girls who today find
themselves in the situation she was in five years ago: Go
use the support services that are available. There is no
reason you have to do it alone.
My head was a mess but they help you get through it, to
make sensible choices instead of absolutely getting
caught up in your thoughts.

Chloe Ryan Donnellan, 15, is the same age Lynn was when
she first made contact with Anew.
From Silvermines, Co Tipperary, she was just 14 when she
discovered she was pregnant in February 2015.
I came back to school after my Christmas holidays and I
passed out just before going into class, she says. My
teacher found me on the floor and brought me in but I
passed again. She asked me loads of questions including
could I be pregnant, but I had taken a pregnancy test the
week before and it came back negative.
Chloes teacher rang her mother, who collected her from
school and brought her to the doctor. A second pregnancy
test was negative. A couple of weeks later, her mother
brought her to the GP to start Chloe on the pill to address
irregular periods Her mother asked for another pregnancy

test and this time the result was positive.

So I just put my head down and starting bawling crying
and I just started saying Sorry, sorry mammy, says
Chloe. I didnt know what to do. It turns out I was nine
weeks and three days pregnant.
While Chloe did not enjoy an easy pregnancy with several
health scares along the way, she says she had fantastic
emotional support from her counsellor in Anew.
Chloe and her mother had previously met Maureen Ryan
as participants in a Strengthening Families interagency
programme for which Maureen acted as facilitator.
My mum rang Maureen, stressing out, we didnt know
what to do, says Chloe. And she was there for us from
that moment.
In fact, if it wasnt for Maureen, Chloe says she wouldnt
have got through the pregnancy.
I wouldnt be here today, thats for sure, she says. I
wouldnt have been able to get through it by myself. I did
have great support from family and friends, dont get me
wrong, but it was hard for them, they didnt know what to
say to me. Maureen somehow knew the right thing to say
the whole time.
At one stage, Maureen, who is based at Anews premises
in Thurles but operates an outreach service in Nenagh and
Roscrea, arranged for Chloes mum and dad to meet with
her too.
There was a very open discussion, Maureen says. It was
really to help people manage emotions, to try and keep
everybody calm. At the end of the day Chloe was the one
that needed their love and support. Its a time when
unconditional love is especially needed.
Chloe, who is not with the father of her child, says she and
eight-month-old Logan are doing very well now and that
he has slotted nicely into the family.
Mam and me have a fantastic relationship, says Chloe.
Dad is in awe of Logan, he loves him to bits, but hes still
scared that because I am such a young mam that I wont
be able to do anything with my life. But my parents are a
great support.
Maureen says Chloe is the youngest crisis pregnancy she
has encountered, that the group most represented is aged
18-24. Her function is to help them cope, offering support,

but at the same time encouraging them to be

independent, acting as a scaffolding on which they build
their own lives.
Deirdre says their younger clients tend to be the most
A lot of the time they come in here and we do a
pregnancy test and it shows up positive and you can just
see the look of horror, she says. They say to me: My
mum will say how could you be so stupid?. They
assume the reaction their parents are going to have and
they could be so wrong. But at that point thats all they
can see.


Eimear Donohue, 27, was one of the more straightforward
cases to arrive at the doors of Anew. Her pregnancy was
not a crisis but very unexpected, she says.
She and boyfriend Kris Ertz had planned to marry at some
point but the pregnancy flipped the more traditional path
to a wedding on its head.
Instead of engagement, marriage, children, we had the
child first, she says. She was one day short of 16 weeks
when she found out she was pregnant and accessing a
timely prenatal class at CUMH was difficult. She availed of
Anews free service instead.

Eimear Donohoes pregnancy certainly wasnt a crisis but

it was unexpected, and Eimear no longer has her own
mum to offer support and
advice. Eimear found Anews prenatal classes invaluable,

and the result is her delightful one-year-old, Eloise.

Picture: Eddie OHare
I live in Wilton but my family is in Longford and my mum
died a couple of years ago so I really didnt know what I
was doing, she says.
Bindu, the midwife who runs the prenatal classes for
Anew was amazing. She gave me the confidence to speak
up in the labour ward when I had questions to ask.
The upshot of Eimears pregnancy was the delightful
Eloise, now one year old. Eimear and Kris plan to marry
next September.


My conversations with clients of Anew give a good insight
into just how much the work of the agency has evolved
beyond its traditional image of crisis pregnancy and post
abortion counselling.
Marcia Morais, 25, is an example of the increasing number
of homeless women coming in contact with Anews family
support services.
Living in Carrigtwohill, Co Cork, the mother of two came
into contact with Cynthia while using the local family
resource centre.
Marcia and her family are facing homelessness because
the house she is renting is up for sale and, with rent
allowance, she is finding it impossible to get alternative
The stress Marcia is under is evident. She tells me her
partner suffers from depression and she suffered from
undiagnosed post-natal depression after her first baby,
subsequently diagnosed following the birth of her second
child. Her eldest, 4, needs ongoing speech and language
therapy. Recently his behaviour has regressed.

Cynthia Roche, project worker at Anew, with Marcia

Morais, who is facing evection from her home in
Carrigtwohill, Co Cork. Picture: Dan Linehan
Marcia is on antidepressants. Through tears, she tells me
she has contemplated taking her own life. She has been
on a social housing list for at least five years. She was
never in arrears in her current accommodation but the
most she can afford to pay in rent is 725 a month and noone is interested in rent allowance. Cynthia has put her in
contact with housing agency Threshold and they are trying
to help.
Couch-surfing and sharing floorspace is the 2016 version
of homelessness, according to Anew. Deirdre says they
have clients who may be in a hostel or living with kids in a
B&B or sleeping in friends houses.
Anew CEO Mary McCarthy says they have provided
accommodation for homeless pregnant women in Dublin
from the get-go they have a house on Pearse St but
that they would like to expand that service by adding 10
to 15 beds, as well as providing accommodation to

homeless pregnant women in Cork.

They are in talks with Dublin City Council, and are hoping
to open talks with the relevant bodies in Cork, including
housing minister Simon Coveney.
A lot of the women we deal with dont show up in the
homeless statistics because they are couch-surfing and
they are not counted as such, Mary says.
The biggest problem, she says, is trying to secure new
units, but there are a lot of processes to go through.


People going for abortion counselling also have processes
to go through. When Deirdre mentions that men have
started to come, it really is a sign of the times. She says
some experience a sense of helplessness, particularly
where termination is chosen and the woman is badly
affected afterwards.
And sometimes he thinks: God, we were pregnant, there
could been a child eventually out of this. And he may
become overwhelmed and experience all the same
emotions that a woman does. So you can have a guy who
is tearful, who is not sleeping well, whos not quite himself.
And they do come for support and sometimes they come
in and they think: Oh maybe I shouldnt be here. Maybe
this is just for women, because there is that perception
that it is a womans issue. And of course it is, without a
But there is still a man in the background, the shadow

side to it, and some men are affected by it.

Sean (not his real name) is one such man. He contacted
Anew a couple of months after travelling with his then
girlfriend to the UK for a termination.
I had been going out with her for the best part of a year
when she got pregnant, he says. We were both quite
young [in their twenties] and the decision to have a
determination was made very quickly. The decision was
mutual and we travelled to the UK together. Afterwards,
we both felt fine.
However the relationship broke down shortly afterwards.
I took the termination a bit better than her but the thing
that affected me was seeing how badly it affected her, he
Sean found himself struggling. For a while, he isolated
himself from family and friends.
My parents knew something was up, he says. After a
couple of months I broke down and told them.
Anxious to help, Seans mum did a bit of research and he
eventually found himself at Anew.
Anew was definitely the best fit for me, he says. Deirdre
was the one person I could open up to. She was very open
and caring and would do anything to help.
His advice to other men who find themselves in a similar
situation is not to be ashamed to seek help.
Bite the bullet. There is no point in leaving it off, its only
going to get worse.


Deidre is one of 13 staff at Anew. All its counsellors and
psychotherapists are accredited. They see people from all
social backgrounds across the reproductive years.
So a woman in her 40s could have a crisis pregnancy just
as well as a 17-year-old, a woman who thought her family
was reared but who finds herself now with unexpected
pregnancy, says Deirdre.
And lots of things can feed into that. Its not necessarily
the pregnancy itself thats the crisis. With the recession,
people have lost their homes, their jobs.
People who traditionally had two incomes now have none,
other than welfare. And to incorporate another child into

the family is now beyond them.

Deirdre Shanahan, counsellor and physiotherapist, with

Mary McCarthy, CEO of Anew. Picture: Dan Linehan
Or the womans partner can turn the pregnancy into a
He doesnt take the news well, he doesnt want any more
children. So while on one hand for her it was good news
until she shared it, and it was no longer good news.
For others it could be the timing women who had
planned their life path for the next 10 years and never
factored being a parent into that.
Anew counselling is non-directive. We dont actually
advise them to do anything, Deirdre says.
What we allow for is the autonomy of the client, for the
client to make their own decision. So its in the listening,
its in the processing and over the weeks the woman will
come to the decision that she feels is the best decision for
her for the rest of her life and that decision will be as
individual as the woman herself.

The Government has again failed to address the spiralling

homelessness crisis, according to a number of
organisations amid warnings of more people on the
streets by Christmas.

While measures in Budget 2016 included a pledge of at

least an additional 9,500 social housing units by 2018
with a third of those to be in place next year and an
increase in funding for emergency accommodation, Focus
Ireland and Threshold said the Governments plans
unveiled yesterday were a missed opportunity.
In his address, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin
said tackling homelessness was a key priority, with
action to include funding 500 modular housing units and
an increase of 17m in the current allocation for
emergency accommodation, meaning the total amount
available for tackling homelessness next year is 70m
up 55% on last years figure.
But Focus Ireland director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said:
The minister and the Government have yet again done
nothing and there is every reason to believe that the
number of families who are homeless will have doubled
yet again to over 1,500 families and up to 3,000 children
by the time we reach budget day next year.
He said measures that delivered rent certainty, plus a rise

in rent supplement and tax changes for residential

landlords to ensure an increase in number of properties to
rent were needed to help alleviate the crisis.
We had worried that decisions would be too little-toolate but we never expected that the Government would
fail to take any significant measures to tackle
homelessness, he said. How a government looking at
distributing the 1.5 billion benefits from a growing
economy could conspire to allocate nothing additional to
tackling the growing causes of family homelessness is
beyond understanding.

Threshold welcomed increased funding for homeless

services but the organisations chairwoman, Senator

Aideen Hayden, said the focus should be on preventing
families from becoming homeless in the first place.
Families struggling to pay their rent simply cant wait
another two to three years for the Governments proposals
to increase housing supply to take effect, she said.
Niamh Randall of the Simon Communities also said more
prompt measures were needed, while housing association
Clid said most of the increase in social housing spending
47.7m out of 69m will be on Housing Assistance
Payment, paid to private landlords.
At his media briefing, Environment Minister Alan Kelly also
announced an increase in the rent limits for the Homeless
HAP Pilot in order to allow more homeless families in
Dublin move out of hotel and emergency accommodation
and find homes.
In July 2015, 77 families became homeless in Ireland. 155
were children and 70 of those families had never
experienced homelessness before.

This growing crisis has prompted Cork film-maker and CIT

new media graduate, Michel OMahony, to produce an
emotional and thought provoking film which is broadcast
here for the first time.

The documentary looks into the causes, effects and

potential solutions to the current situation though a series
of interviews with Irelands leading experts on
homelessness as well as real life stories from people who
have been affected first hand by the issue.
Please leave your own thoughts on the film and the issues
raised in our comments section below.
Housing charity Threshold has called for a plan for the
private rental sector to prevent families from becoming
A rental market strategy was due to be published this
autumn but Minister Simon Coveney has said it is still a
number of months away.
The Minister says the Residential Tenancies Board is
examining a number of European models to develop a
Threshold believe the strategy is needed urgently and that
measures to tackle homelessness must be properly funded
in the budget.
The chairperson of Threshold, Aideen Hayden, said: "The
current crisis in the private rented sector has been caused

by a perfect storm of skyrocketing rents, shortage of

supply and a regulatory framework that simply does not
support long-term renting.

"Ahead of the budget, we are proposing a number of

recommendations and solutions to the homelessness
"These recommendations include supporting low income
households and preventing homelessness through the
extension of Thresholds Tenancy Protection Service;
establishing a framework for long-term funding of housing
advisory services; and conducting an assessment on the
level of hidden homelessness in Ireland.
An intervention service to help people avoid the prospect
of homelessness may be beefed up by Cork County
Council in the wake of the growing housing crisis.

Currently, the council has two tenancy support workers

(TSWs) dealing specifically with homelessness in the North
and West Cork areas, but not in the councils southern
The southern area encompasses sizeable towns such as
Carrigaline, Ballincollig, Youghal, Midleton, Glanmire and
Cobh where homelessness is a bigger issue.
The TSW role includes the prevention of, and early
intervention, in homelessness through support, advice and
practical help.
According to council officials, the aim is to enable people
to maintain stable accommodation and develop skills to
sustain independent tenancies. In addition, the TSWs have
developed and maintained links with relevant agencies,
both voluntary and statutory, to deal with homelessness.
Officials released figures in relation to the workload of the
TSW employed in North Cork which showed an official was
snowed under, dealing with 228 individual cases in the
past 10 months.
Councillors said it was obvious the official needed help
with the workload, but turned their attention to the lack of
a corresponding position in the southern division.
Cllr Des OGrady said the service should be extended into
the more metropolitan southern area. He acknowledged
there are three homeless facilities funded by the
Department of Social Protection and Cork County Council,
and a joint homeless forum with Cork City Council.
However he said there was still a glaring gap with the
lack of a TSW in the area.
Cllr Noel Collins, who was a social worker for many years
in Britain, agreed that there should be more TSWs. He said

he was inundated every week with people frightened

theyre going to lose their homes due to rising rents and
they were offered little hope because of the lack of
Cobh-based Cllr Sinead Sheppard said she recently had to
try and help a young mother with a three-year-old child
and six-month-old baby secure a homeless shelter. It was
vital, she said, a TSW was employed in her area.
Many families are now getting a months notice to quit
our lack of social housing is really becoming apparent,
Cllr Ian Doyle added. County mayor Seamus McGrath said:
We need as many supports as we can have in place.
Council chief executive Tim Lucey said he would examine
the possibility of providing extra TSW supports as part of
the councils 2017 budget.
The Government will announce details of its plans on
dealing with the homeless crisis today.
The Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness will be
launched by Taoiseach Enda Kenny, along with Housing
Minister Simon Coveney and other members of Cabinet
later today.
It will include an update of the progress made so far on
the issue.
It comes as new figures released this week show 2,000
children are living in emergency accommodation.

Earlier this week the Simon Community said that homeless

figures in Dublin were at an all-time high with 168 people
sleeping rough on Monday night.
The charity counted a 32% rise in rough sleepers last year
even though 195 new emergency beds have been
provided in the capital since Jonathan Corrie was found
dead on a doorstep near Leinster House in December
The number of people sleeping rough in Dublin has
reached record levels.
A city centre headcount by the Dublin Simon Community
this morning found 168 people slept outside in doorways,
shop fronts, streets and parks.

uesday, September 20, 2016

The figure does not include another 60 people on a floor in

the Merchant's Quay Night Cafe or unknown numbers
trying to bed down in Phoenix Park.
The charity counted a 32% rise in rough sleepers last year
even though 195 new emergency beds have been
provided in the capital since Jonathan Corrie was found
dead on a doorstep near Leinster House in December
Dublin Simon said the number of people it sees with no
roof over their head has escalated from from 80 in August
last year to 106 a year later, and is averaging 150 this
The charity's chief executive Sam McGuinness said the
visible scale of homelessness is shocking.
"With emergency beds across the city operating at full
capacity each night, rapid housing and support for
individuals is urgently needed to get people off the streets
to safety and to tackle the bottleneck in emergency
accommodation," he said.
"People have become trapped in the revolving door of
homelessness and the short-term measure of emergency

accommodation has become long term."

Mr McGuinness backed Housing, Planning and Local
Government Minister Simon Coveney's efforts to ease the
crisis but urged him to publish specifics on how more
accommodation will be provided.
He said official figures from the Department of
Environment in the past year showed a 29% increase in
the number of adults and 39% rise in children accessing
emergency accommodation.
Mr McGuinness added: "The long-term effects of
homelessness are destructive to people's lives and one
more night on the streets for any of the 168 people we
counted this morning will have a devastating impact on
their health."
Housing Minister Simon Coveney said that ending
homelessness remains the government's top priority.
First and foremost, we have to try to stop the flow, he
People have described this like trying to empty a bath of
water while the taps are full on.
So this is a response to homelessness, in terms of the
Governments strategy, but its also very much a policy
thats driven by trying to prevent people coming into
homelessness in the first place, and helping them while
theyre there.
Dublin Simon also revealed that 70% of people entering its
detox programme were homeless for more than six
months and half had been homeless for more than two
Waiting time for a bed in the detox unit went from 27 days
in 2014 to 31 days last year due to limited

The charity said only one in every 10 people completing a

detox moving to housing.
Dublin Simon revealed the extent of its work with
prevention and resettlement services in Dublin helping to
reduce the risk of 570 people losing their homes and
another 315 people in Kildare, Wicklow and Meath getting
advice, settlement, prevention and outreach services to
secure a home.
The charity also gave out more than 230,000 meals to
homeless people, while it acquired 109 new housing units
and plans to add another 450.
A priest has called on society to wake up to the plight of
the homeless community, following the death of a motherof-two whose body was discovered last week at a vacant
building in Limerick.

Louise Casey, 31, a user of homelessness services, was

discovered sheltering from the cold beneath a staircase at
a derelict building.
Known to her family and friends as BuBu, she had
experienced great pain at the deaths of two babies, her
funeral Mass heard yesterday.
Her mother, surviving two children, sisters, and brother,
gathered with other relatives at St Marys Church,

Athlunkard, to say their goodbyes.

Her niece, Teresa, paid tribute to her little smiler who
adored her family. She said: We want to thank each and
everyone of you who have come here today for your
support, following our sad news, on the passing of our
beautiful daughter, sister, mother, aunt, granddaughter.
Everyone knew Louise as BuBu. She was the most loving
girl in this earth. She adored her two kids and she thought
the world of her nieces and nephews. After the passing of
her dad and her two babies, BuBu went on a different road
in life, but she never lost faith in herself.
Mourners, including pupils from the school attended by Ms
Caseys son, applauded at the end of the touching tribute.
Fr Derek Leonard told Ms Caseys son and daughter: This
is a very tough and difficult time for you. Well done for
showing such great courage and for such a great tribute to
your mum. Im sure she is very proud of you. The way
Louise ended her life was very sad and very tragic, by
dying on the streets. But, during this Mass we remember
the life that she led. Jesus said there are many rooms in
my fathers house. When Louise passed away she did not
have a roof over her head, but we are promised nobody is
forgotten, no matter their situation in life, no matter what
place they find ourselves in.
Addressing her heartbroken family, Fr Leonard said: Im
sure she knew it in her heart that she was not forgotten by
you. She was loved by you, especially by her children, who
will never forget her. We celebrate her as a person who
had a good heart, and who did a lot of good in her life. We
hope she is in a place of peace and happiness and light
and love.
While she had a sad end, some good will come of this,
because it is a reminder to us to open our eyes to those
who are suffering around us. For many of us in Limerick and I may have been one of them - we pass by people who
are homeless and who are living on the streets, and they
become invisible to us. Especially, as winter sets in, the
challenge for us all is to open our eyes and see their faces.
By Louises life, and by her death, some good may come,
in that it might wake us up.

Tenancy protection
A new tenancy protection service has saved more than
2,600 people, including some 1,100 children, from
homelessness in Cork and Kerry.

Housing charity Threshold will publish a report this

morning on the progress of the first full year of operation
of its Cork Tenancy Protection Service (TPS).
Delivered in partnership with Cork city and county
councils, Kerry County Council, and the Department of
Social Protection, it was introduced in January 2015 after
Threshold identified a need to bridge the affordability gap
between rent supplement limits and rising market rents to
prevent tenants from becoming homeless.
TPS provides advice and support to people who are living
in private rented accommodation, experiencing tenancy
problems, and at risk of homelessness. It provides a fasttrack avenue for tenants in Cork City and its environs who
are in receipt of rent supplement to seek increased
payments to match increases in rent.
Todays report shows that in 2015, TPS in the South-West
Prevented 1,055 households (2,633 people, including

1,186 children) from becoming homeless;

This cost just over 220,000, a fraction of the cost of
providing them with emergency accommodation;
Protected 956 tenancies and found suitable alternative
accommodation for 99 households;
Almost half the tenant households (530) deemed to be at
immediate risk of homelessness were in the process of
having their tenancy terminated;
And helped 1,227 callers to the service.
Thresholds regional manager of southern services, Niall
Horgan, said the achievements of TPS, with a 99.7%
success rate, are significant and encouraging.
Without this vital service, the number of homeless
families in the region would be significantly higher and the
homelessness crisis would be almost unmanageable, he
The charity said while TPS was one of the most successful
homeless prevention measures of recent years, homeless
figures continue to rise, and warned the problem will
continue until housing supply was increased.
It will call today for a raft of measures, including extending
the fast-tracked enhanced rent supplement payment
scheme to tenants living beyond Cork City and environs,
to hold rent supplement limits at current levels, and for
new legal safeguards to allow residential tenants to
continue in their tenancy during and after the sale of a
rented property.
The charity also wants the definition of landlord to be
amended to include receivers and lenders.
Homelessness carries an enormous human cost for the
individual or family affected, but it also carries a large
budgetary cost for the State, said Threshold chairwoman
Aideen Heydon.
The key lesson of the TPS service is that putting the right
resources in the right places can significantly alleviate the
human and economic cost of homelessness.
October 10 marked World Homeless Day and the Peter
McVerry trust came up with a unique way to promote and
support thier 'Opening Doors' campaign,

Iconic Cork t-shirt company Hairy Baby have joined forces

with the Homeless charity group to help combat
homelessness on the streets of Ireland.
The organisation contacted the online company and asked
them to design a t-shirt on behalf of the trust to help raise
much needed funds.
Were all aware of the homeless situation and how it has
reached crisis level and with this in mind we came up with
our Nil aon tinten mar do thinten fin design which
reinforces the importance of the home while also
reminding the wearer of those less fortunate who dont
have one," said Daragh Murphy, owner of Hairy Baby tshirts.
"For every tee sold during the month of October we will be
donating 10 to Peter McVerry Trust.
"So not only will you be getting a fab limited edition
HairyBaby tshirt, youll be making a donation too.
A new all-party committee to look at how to deal with the
housing and the homelessness crisis has been established
by the Dil.
TDs are also making statements on housing tonight,
saying there is an urgent need to find a fix.
Acting Environment Minister Alan Kelly says 31 actions
were taken in the last 21 months, and he says no matter

what is done now won't fix the problem overnight.

Mr Kelly said: "I've sought to tackle this issue from every
possible angle to improve the situation for everyone in this
"It has absolutely been my priority during my short term in
the Department of the Environment.

"But the fruits of that work will take time to become

apparent. We have laid the foundations, but the solutions
will, like any house, take time to build and to bring
Rents also rose by 3.9% between April and June, the
largest three-month increase since 2007, meaning the
average monthly rent is now at its highest level on record.
Rents in Dublin are now 5.2% higher than the previous
peak in early 2008, while rents rose 18% in Cork city over
a year.
Data shows that rents have soared in the commuter town
of Ballincollig, and have also increased in the city centre
and in areas such as Rochestown and Blackrock. The
pattern is repeated elsewhere, with rents in Galway 13.9%
higher than a year ago, while Limerick saw a 15.5% rise in
the year.
David Carroll, director of services for Depaul, said the
figures highlighted the need for urgent action.

On a daily basis across our Dublin homeless services, we

are seeing more and more people present as homeless
because they cannot afford to rent in Dublin. This includes
young people, families, single people and couples, people
who are working, and pregnant women, he said.
Due to a number of factors, including a stall in
construction and retrenchment in the social housing
budget during the recession, Ireland is in the midst of a
crippling housing and homelessness crisis. With demand
for housing far outstripping supply, we are in a situation
where rents have surpassed their 2008 peak and this is
having a knock-on effect on homelessness.
With the average cost of renting a double room in Dublin
city centre at 682 and the average cost of renting a
home in this area at 1,505, it is unsurprising that more
and more people are finding it increasingly difficult to
make ends meet.

National housing charity Threshold expressed alarm at the

rising rents outside Dublin and in the capital.

Threshold manager in Dublin, Stephen Large, said: The report confirms that, while previously double-digit
annual rent inflation was primarily a Dublin phenomenon,
this has now become the norm nationally.
The rate of increase shows no sign of slowing any time
soon, and rents are becoming increasingly unaffordable for
many tenants. In extreme cases, rent increases can lead
to tenancy breakdown or even homelessness.
Mr Large said recent changes to the law, which meant
rents could only be increased once in any 24- month
period, were welcome. However, he said further
measures are necessary to regulate rent increases to
make the private rented sector a viable housing option.
Threshold has proposed other rent certainty measures.
While Niamh Randall of the Simon Communities said she
was not surprised at the latest rental figures, the Irish
Property Owners Association said tax breaks should be
introduced to incentivise landlords, including those who
have left the market.
Meanwhile, Dublin City Council and the Dublin Region
Homeless Executive confirmed the cost of hotel
accommodation for homeless families for the first six
months of this year was just over 16m, the highest ever
half-yearly figure. Earlier this year, Housing Minister Simon
Coveney said the annual spend on hotel accommodation
was 46m.

Homelessness reaches record figures as 6,709 and

still nothing done to house homeless people
Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The number of homeless families in Dublin has surpassed

1,000 for the first time ever.
Homelessness nationally has also reached record figures,
with 6,709 people now without a home around the
Figures released today show that over 1,000 families and
almost 2,500 children are now homeless around the

Meanwhile, the Dublin Simon Community opened a new

counselling service in Dublin today.

It is part of their 'Sure Steps' programme, and was

launched by the Minister for Mental Health, Helen
Simon's Sam McGuinness says it is in response to an
increasing demand for counselling support.
Mr McGuinness said: "Preventing people from losing their
homes is a critical issue by providing the counselling.
"And at the same time people who are resident in services
who want to move on and need that help to actually get
self-belief back and be secure in themselves and give
them hope.
"That's very important."

View image on Twitter


Dublin Simon

Minister launching our new Sure Steps Counselling

Rooms and Report

3:57 PM - 2 Nov 2016

4 4 Retweets5 5 likes

The September metropolitan council meeting recorded

320 people as homeless on August 25, 2015, compared to
323 people in the entire 12 months of last year.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Fianna Fil councillor Eddie
Mulligan said the homeless situation in Waterford was
I think its a disgrace in modern-day Ireland that we have
a situation where, in the first six months of a so-called
stabilisation, we have an escalating situation of
homelessness in Waterford, said Mr Mulligan
He criticised the Government for the drastic increase in
the homeless situation.
I firmly believe that what were witnessing is deliberate
Government policy to reduce home ownership, drive up
the rents in urban areas, and provide minimal funding for
social housing, he said.
Thats effectively whats happening and from what the
people on the ground can see all these contributions are
really to improve the banks balance sheets relating to
mortgages and stress loans because certainly banks are
not dealing with that and that is one of the biggest
contributors at the moment.

Mr Mulligan said he has seen a rapid increase in the

number of people requiring emergency accommodation
over the past 12 months.

Were dependent on Government support but I feel the

Government arent doing enough in Waterford, he said.
We have been undersupplied in terms of social housing
over the last number of years. People are doing their
utmost to hold on to their houses but we are going to see
an increased level of repossession.
Mr Mulligan insisted the economic recovery has yet to
reach Waterford.
Theres actually a three-tier recovery going on, he said.
You have the recovery in Dublin and you have the
recovery down in the peripherals of Dublin and the other
cities, but here in Waterford... were not seeing any
There are one or two developments coming to completion
at the moment but its nothing like the figures required to
actually house people who are on the housing list at the
moment. Certainly what we need to see at the moment is
action in the actual initiation of building schemes.
Mr Mulligans comments come off the back of the
September meeting of the amalgamated authority where
Fianna Fil councillor Mary Butler said homelessness in
Waterford was at a crisis point.
mother begs Government to tackle rising rents and homelessness
With news that two families a day are becoming homeless
in Dublin alone, a young mother has spoken about the
realities of her life with her daughter in a hotel room,
writes Denise O'Donoghue.
21-year-old Joy, despite never missing a payment, was
forced to leave her rented property in Swords in recent
weeks as the house was being repossessed.
She received a sheriff's letter saying she had to leave
within 10 days, and she temporarily moved into her
mother's home with her three-year-old daughter. Her sister
and her two children already live there, as does her
Every landlord that Joy has contacted refused to rent to
her, saying they were only looking for professionals.
"The day I declared myself homeless we had a pink

suitcase, and she actually thought we were going to the

airport. But we werent, we were going to declare
ourselves homeless, 21-year-old Joy

Joy declared herself homeless three weeks ago and was

put into a small hotel room in Dublin city centre. There is
no fridge in the room, and she has to buy perishable food
every day.
"I never thought I'd see the day I'd see myself in a hotel
with my daughter of three years of age with a Christmas
tree the size of my arm. It's not right," she told Today with
Sean O'Rourke.
After packing their belongings, her daughter thought they
were going on a holiday.
"The day I declared myself homeless we had a pink
suitcase, and she actually thought we were going to the
airport," Joy said. "But we werent, we were going to
declare ourselves homeless."
"I'm only 21, Im only young, I come from a well-respected
family and I really never thought Id see the day when Im

in a hotel room"
All I want is to have a house and to be able to work as a
home care assistant. That's all I want: to get my car, get
my house, and go out and work, work, work. That's all I
want to do but I cant. I've lost everything. I've lost my
whole life."
Joy slammed landlords for the high price of rent around
the country.
"Ive seen people with studio apartments for 1300 thats not right."
She has called on the government to step in and improve
conditions for struggling families.
"This Government has to change, it really does. They have
to do something about it."
This comes as national charity the Phoenix Project predicts
that hundreds of families will become homeless before
Christmas, and that the majority will be due to mortgage
John McGrath, chairman of the Phoenix Project, said that
there were 2,000 cases relating to mortgage arrears being
heard in the courts in December.
Mr McGrath said that of these 2,000 court cases, at least
10% would result in rulings that would see family homes
being repossessed.
"These cases have already been adjourned on numerous
occasions and the courts will not put them off any more,"
Mr McGrath said.
"There are another 2,300 such cases listed for the courts
in January and there will be more over the coming months.
The time has run out for the 40,000 mortgages that are
two year or more in arrears."
The Phoenix Project has called on the Government to
urgently re-assess the parameters of the mortgage-to-rent

Under this scheme, those in mortgage arrears can stay in
their homes. However, the scheme is only eligible to those
in arrears who earn less than the average industrial wage.
Mr McGrath said that the scheme should be extended to
borrowers in arrears who earn 50,000 or less.
"We need an immediate expansion of the mortgage to rent
scheme. The existing parameters need to be urgently
extended. It doesnt matter if it is a private or public
"Over the next month, it looks likely that hundreds of
families will have their homes taken from them. There is
97% occupancy hotels and there is no supply in the rental
market. These families will have nowhere to go, so the
Government had to act fast," he warned.
The Government is to blame for the rise in homelessness
by its stubborn refusal to offer realistic rent supplements,
a voluntary housing charity has claimed.
Warning the Government, housing charity Focus Ireland
yesterday revealed 39 families became homeless in Dublin
last month. It also noted that, on average, one family lost
their home in the Dublin area every day this year.
The figures were announced as Focus Ireland made a
submission to the Department of Social Protections
Review of Rent Supplement Levels.
The submission called for rent supplement payments to
match real rent levels to help prevent families and
individuals from losing their homes.
The charitys submission also warns that the
Governments rent review process is fatally flawed and will
not fix the problem.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: Our
figures for July show that 39 families more than one
family a day lost their home and became homeless in

Dublin last month alone. Many of these families lost their

homes because the rent supplement system failed them.
A lot of the families that are becoming homeless, and
others we are supporting to try to prevent them losing
their homes, have been forced to top up the rent
supplement to meet the market cost of rent, as the rent
supplement doesnt cover the rent.
Paying this top-up, month on month, is clearly not
sustainable and it just pushes families deeper into debt
and nearer to homelessness.
Focus Ireland said the Government must raise rent
supplement rates to stop the rise in the number of families
losing their homes as they can not afford to pay their rent.
Mr Allen said: The Government could stop many families
from losing their homes with a stroke of a pen. It is not
credible for the Government to accept homelessness is at
crisis point yet not take this straightforward action to
prevent it.
Focus Ireland also warned that the Department of Social
Protection review is fatally flawed and will end up
perpetuating the problem unless a different approach is
Mr Allen said: We believe that this review should be
trying to set a fair rent level based on real average rents
in an area. But instead they have decided to base the rent
levels on the cheapest third of the market.
Many of these homes are already rented to people on low
wages or students so the numbers just dont add up. It is
exactly this kind of wrongheaded policy that forces
individuals and families to top-up and causes
The charity further warned if this approach is followed
again, the current rent supplement review is doomed to
fail many of the families and individuals who are currently

homeless, as they will still not be able to find a home in

the private rented market.
Its submission calls for the department to revise the way
rent caps are decided and set them based on the real
average rent for each area.
Mr Allen said: We cannot escape from the fact that there
are not enough homes to rent in the lowest third of the
market for everyone who is seeking a home to secure a
roof over their heads.
The Government must open its eyes to this fact. They
have a responsibility and a duty to do so to protect
families and individuals who are being priced out of the
market. It is not credible for the minister to come out and
say tackling homelessness is a priority when the very
mechanics and polices pursued by her Department on this
issue is actually not only causing the problem to continue
but actually to get worse.
Focus Ireland welcomed the fact that the Government has
initiated a process to review the maximum level of rent
supplement which can be paid, but the situation was
continuing to deteriorate while the review is taking place.
The housing charity called for the review to be completed
promptly and the decision implemented on budget day.
The charity said the Government also needs to bring in
greater rent regulation.
Emergency powers may be used to tackle the growing
homelessness crisis and to ensure up to 25,000 homes are
built per year to address the lack of proper, affordable
accommodation for families.

A new infrastructure fund is to be set up by the

Government to provide local authorities with finance for
building roads and bridges to access landbanks to be used
for social housing.
The Government will also provide experts to help local
authorities speed up designs for such projects.
They are among the proposals Minister for Housing,
Planning and Local Government Simon Coveney is
examining for a new housing strategy to be published at
the end of July.

It will first prioritise tackling homelessness and also

powering up the construction sector to rebalance the lack
of proper, affordable housing over the next three years.
Mr Coveney outlined some of the proposals when he met
with city and county councillors in Cork yesterday. He
plans to task all local authorities to come up with action
plans which would feed into the new national strategy.
He said there were around 240,000 vacant homes in

Ireland, the majority of which are owned by the private

sector. Vacancy and dereliction are issues the minister
wants addressed swiftly. Mr Coveney said emergency
accommodation, in particular, would have to be built in
Dublin and surrounding counties along with Cork.

He spoke as figures released by Focus Ireland showed 74

families were homeless in Dublin in April. The increase
brought the total number of families living in emergency
accommodation in Dublin to a record 888, with 1,786
The minister said a new strategy will also be drawn up for
population growth in Cork, Waterford, and Limerick and is
demanding that houses of the right quality be constructed
in the right places. This new planning framework will be
launched next summer and will replace the national
spatial strategy.
Mr Coveney said he would also consider introducing
emergency powers as a last resort to ensure the housing
crisis was tackled.
His target is 25,000-35,000 new housing units built per
year over the next few years. About 22,000, it is
envisaged, will be provided by local authorities and
voluntary housing agencies. He indicated some properties
could also be acquired through lease from the private
The minister also pointed to plans for strategic
development zoning (SDZ) to ensure large scale housing

projects are processed faster, but also to ensure houses

are built in the right places and with a proper mixture of
public and privately-owned homes. My priority is to give
housing the priority it deserves at budget time. Im looking
for an ambitious plan which is realistic, said Mr Coveney.
He said there was also potential to free up student
accommodation and to provide downsized properties for
elderly couples with grown-up children in order to free up
family homes.
We have a lot of work to do to get back to a normal
situation and rents becoming affordable. There was a 16%
growth in rent in Cork city in the last year, which is
unsustainable, he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Coveney said he was embarking on a
significant review of commercial rates.
Furthermore, the minister said he was looking at
introducing incentives for businesses to locate in
disadvantaged areas.
More than one in three people worry that rising rents will
lead to an increase in homelessness, according to new
figures from the Simon Community
One in five people feared losing their own home and more
than a third are concerned about the impact of
homelessness on peoples health.
It is getting harder and harder to provide the support that
people need when they come to us, said national
spokesperson for the Simon Communities Niamh Randall.
Private rented supply is now at the lowest level in a
decade, she said.
Over 3,000 people have signed a letter on urging Taoiseach Enda
Kenny and Tnaiste John Burton to act on homelessness.
Its no surprise that people fear losing their homes as
they see little government action right now, said Ms
Randall. She said the decision to leave rent supplement
limits unchanged was causing homelessness and would
continue to do unless reversed. And rent certainty
measures promised earlier this year by Environment
Minister Alan Kelly must be introduced as a matter of
urgency, she said.
The Simon Communities are working with over 6,000

people annually and its inevitable we will see even more

people turning to us for help as rents continue to rise,
said Ms Randall.
She added that it was unforgivable that there were local
authority houses and state-owned properties lying empty
when there were people sleeping on the street or stuck in
emergency accommodation.
The current system is scandalous where housing remains
vacant while maintenance work is undertaken, which can
take months to complete, she said.
And for the State to say to people there is no prospect of
getting a home any time soon was just not good enough.
People need homes now and people need action now,
she said.
A lecturer in the School of Nursing and Human Sciences at
Dublin City University, Briege Casey, said numerous
research studies had shown that homelessness and
unstable housing arrangements affected peoples health.
Dr Casey will be one of the main speakers at a DCU
conference on Friday for nurses who provide care to
homeless people and other marginalised groups.
The number of families that became homeless nearly
doubled last year compared to 2014, according to a
charitys annual report.

Focus Ireland yesterday published its annual report for

2015 a year it says was the worst for family

Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, founder and life president of Focus
Ireland, said she has never seen family homelessness as
bad as it is now.
The number of families becoming homeless rose from an
average of 34 per month in 2014 to over 60 per month in
2015, she states in the report.
At the launch, Sr Stan said the legislative approach to
tackling homelessness is still based on the approach
adopted in 1988, when the problem mostly concerned
single men. She believes this approach needs to evolve to
meet the modern homeless crisis.
It must be clear to everyone that the risks we are dealing
with now are completely different because hundreds of
children are involved. Everyone is trying hard to make the
outdated system work but services across the country
desperately need leadership from Government to update
the rules to reflect the new reality, she said.

Focus Ireland chairman Gerry Danaher said while it

broadly welcomes the governments action plan on
housing and homelessness, more detailed policies are
needed to tackle family homelessness.
There is little in the action plan which will cut the
numbers of families losing their homes or help others
secure a home, said Mr Danaher.

Focus Ireland and the Dublin Regional Homeless

Executive are supporting more families out of
homelessness than ever before, but we cannot keep pace
with the deepening crisis as 90 families have become
homeless every month so far this year, compared with 60
a month last year.
A second issue is that every night the Dublin Regional
Homeless Executive and Focus Ireland struggle to ensure
that every family has somewhere safe to stay, and it is not
uncommon for us to still be seeking beds for ten or more
families late into the evening.
Frequently we are still seeking rooms for some of these
families as midnight approaches. The action plan is
essentially silent on this crucial issue. The risk of children
being forced to sleep rough with their families for want of
an emergency bed is now an every night reality.

Mr Danaher announced that Focus Ireland will provide 600

more homes by 2019, 150 homes a year over the next
four years, which will double its current housing stock.
The annual report states that the charity supported more
than 12,500 people who were homeless or at risk in 2015,
a 9% rise compared to 11,500 in 2014. It found that one in
three people availing of its services in 2015 were a child.
The report states that families are travelling to Dublin to
seek help due to a lack of services in their area.
Where the Housing First Intake Team came into contact
with families, they were provided with emergency

accommodation, but there were a few confirmed cases of

families with children forced to sleep rough (and many
reports which could not be confirmed), states the report.
Many of these families were not from the Dublin region,
but had come to Dublin because of an inadequate
response to their plight in their own localities.
Simon Coveney has effectively promised to end
homelessness and the housing emergency in one big
swoop. The housing minister is betting his career on fixing
the crisis.

The results, though, are so dependent on a number of

factors in the sector falling or being driven into place.
Mr Coveneys success will be based on the actual delivery
of the housing units in the social and private sector,
supports given to renters, changes experienced by those
without a home, and the speed at which all this can be
Those aspirations will rely on promised funding remaining
in place to drive the changes as well as the commitment
and participation of developers, local authorities, and even
the EU.
The strategy is made up of five areas: Addressing
homelessness, accelerating social housing delivery,
building more units, improving the rental sector, and
utilising existing housing.

While Fine Gael is hamstrung as a minority government,

this strategy is its first chance to deliver anything of
substance since taking office again.
The strategy has 80 key actions, with built-in timelines
and, in some cases, allocated funding.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday pledged to personally
oversee implementation of the strategy, saying it is
ambitious but realistic.
Mr Coveney hopes the country can produce 25,000
housing units annually as early as 2019, two years ahead
of target. This would be made up of 20,000 for private and
5,000 for social housing.
Overall, he expects it could be possible to facilitate some
134,000 new social housing units by 2021. Some 47,000
of these would be new, the rest comprising acquisitions,
refurbished, and built/leased units.
These are huge targets, significantly more than the
numbers there currently.
New builds are a non-starter at the moment, said Mr
Coveney, revealing that just one new housing estate has
been proposed in Co Galway in the last seven years.
To facilitate the social housing unit increases, up to
5.35bn will now go towards them, 2bn more than was
previously promised. Local authorities and housing bodies
will be pushed too.
If that urgency isnt there, were going to get it into the
system, said Mr Coveney.

The increase in social housing output is necessary to take

pressure of the rental sector and make private dwellings
more available.
Another key plank is the plan to ramp up the number of
mixed tenure developments. Mr Coveney said that, under
the strategy, there will be more integration.
You are going to drive into estates and youre not going
to be able to spot the difference [between social and
private housing], he claimed.
To offset any suggestion the strategy will not work, he
pointed to a graph at yesterdays launch saying that,
without government intervention, only 15,000 new units a
year would be made available by 2021 compared to the
promised 25,000.
A key question, however, is whether developers will
actually build?
Mr Coveney admitted investment firms are sitting on lands
longer than necessary to try and make profits. But he
pledged that, through the use of State lands, along with a
ramping up of training for the construction trade and an
eventual introduction of a levy on vacant sites, builders
would see there is value for money in the sector. Mr
Coveney even expects developers to soon announce
developments of 1,000 houses or more.
High-quality development applications would be given
priority, he said, and large developments of 100 units or
more will be fast-tracked directly to An Bord Pleanla, with
decisions possible in just 18 weeks. Furthermore, local
authorities will get a 200m infrastructure fund for
bridges, roads, and other projects to facilitate
Key reforms of the rental sector and a special grant for
first-time buyers not for buying mansions will be
outlined later in the autumn, said Mr Coveney.
A key pledge, to be monitored closely, was the promise to
end use of hotels and B&Bs for the homeless in the next
year. It is possible to eradicate homelessness, said Mr
The clock is ticking. A lot has been promised. The results
are now awaited.

Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for

Housing and Homelessness
Jul 19, 2016
Rebuilding Ireland is an action-driven plan that will result in a
dramatic increase in the delivery of homes nationwide.
Ambitious and inventive in its reach, and radical in its
approach, this significant Government priority will deal with the
under supply of housing and the effect it has on people and
This video illustrates the scope and spread of the plan through
a number of tangible actions. Using a Five-Pillar approach,
Rebuilding Ireland will address the needs of homeless people
and families in emergency accommodation, accelerate the
provision of social housing, deliver more housing, utilise vacant
homes and improve the rental sector.
This is an initiative of the Government of Ireland.

This, in a relatively small and prosperous city that

imagines itself decent, is a challenging figure. It is also an
indictment of this societys efforts to put a safety net
under every citizen.
Some individuals may have issues around drink or drug
misuse, but addiction cannot be the sole reason so many
people are destitute. These figures are an expression of
individual and social failure and demand a proportionate
response. The Government has a series of measures in
train to confront the housing crisis but they will take time
to deliver or to have a meaningful impact on this fraught
Launching the report, Cork Simon director Dermot
Kavanagh welcomed the recent increases in rent
supplement and housing assistance payment, suggesting
these measures would help prevent more people being
made homeless. The other side of that coin is that people
are being made homeless by landlords determined to take
advantage of the housing crisis. Housing Minister Simon
Coveney said: We need to protect people who are in
vulnerable positions who are in rental accommodation...
that is why we increased rent supplement and , we
need to get more accommodation built. There is,
minister, a third leg to that stool: Rent control legislation
The Dil's new housing committee will hear from legal
experts on the homelessness crisis today.

The Master of the High Court and Human Rights experts

are among those set to address the group.
The cross party committee has just over a month to
produce a report on how the Government should tackle
the issue.
Over six thousand people are currently in emergency
The meeting comes as the Workers Party launched a new
report calling for the Government to take over the building
of social housing from local authorities.

Family disputes were the most common cause of

homelessness, along with a breakdown of living
arrangements, according to the Mid-West Regional
Homlessness Action Plan unveiled yesterday.
Drawn up by Limerick City and County Councils, Clare
County Council, and North Tipperary County Council, the
plan sets out a strategy to tackle the problem up until
A spokesperson said: The plan will place emphasis on
strengthening preventative policies, procedures, working
relationships and services to reduce levels of repeat
homelessness, thus reducing the overall level of
homelessness within the region.
In particular this regional action plan aims to address the
needs of the long-term homeless currently resident in
emergency facilities, by identifying the gaps preventing
their resettlement.
The report found people aged 20 to 29 were the most atrisk category, and the vast majority were Irish. Of the total
number, 39 came from Britain or other EU nations and 42
from outside the EU.
Limerick had very high numbers of homeless people who
were homeless due to alcohol/drug addiction and domestic
violence, but the authors of the report attribute these
findings to the numbers attending Cuan Mhuire addiction
centre in Bruree, and a domestic violence refuge for
Protocols to determine swiftly if a person requires

emergency accommodation will be developed as part of

the strategy. Stronger links will also be developed with
agencies providing addiction services.

Homelessness in Ireland
Sep 6, 2012
Keep up to date with all the latest Irish and international news
and current affairs with

Homeless in Dublin
May 11, 2015
A TV package I compiled for UTV Ireland in Dublin taking a look
at the issue of homelessness in Ireland

The Truth about Homelessness: Sleepout

Dec 19, 2014
The Sleepout is a charity event run by 70 students in the heart
of Dublin city centre. For three days and two nights from 2224th December, the boys collec during the day and spend the
night sleeping under the General Post office to raise funds for
Focus Ireland, Home again and the Peter McVerry Trust Ireland.
Donations through:
Social media:

Homeless Crisis in Ireland :Homelessness

is a problem that needs a Solution
Jan 29, 2016
Homeless in Ireland is getting worse by the day people need to
realize how bad it is I hope this video helps you, Dublin is
mainly where the homeless sleep at night! its a crisis's
Irelands homelessness issue could be solved by Christmas
if the political will existed to do it, Fr. Peter McVerry has


In a documentary film on the housing crisis, which can be

viewed below, Fr. McVerry also claims that a disconnect
between rent supplements offered by the Department of
Social Protection and current market rent rates are
responsible for hundred of families living in hotels.
In September the Government are going to give 120m
back to people who have registered with Irish Water ...
said Fr.McVerry.
(120m) would purchase between five and six hundred
houses and we have almost 600 families living in hotel
bedrooms. Every one of them could be housed by
Christmas, if we had the will to do it, he added.
In Dublin there are five new people becoming homeless
everyday according official statistics.
In July 2015, 77 families became homeless in Ireland. 155
were children and 70 of those families had never
experienced homelessness before.
Speaking in the film Paul Sheehan, communications
manager of the Simon Community in Cork said the
existing rental market was creating a perfect storm on
There are fewer houses to rent on the market than there
has been in decades. Rents are spiralling out of control,
people cant get mortgages which is adding to the

pressure on the rental market and the supplement that

the Department of Social Protection gives people if they
need help with their rent does not meet the the current
market rents, he said.
Plans to build 150 modular houses in the Dublin area have
been agreed by the Cabinet after the Government was
accused of not doing enough to tackle the homeless crisis.

The homes will be the first of 500 to be created as more

than 700 families, including 1,500 children languish in
emergency B&B and hotel accommodation.
The homes cost between 50,000 to 100,000 to create,
and the first 150 are to be habitable by the New Year.
The move came as Socialist TD Joe Higgins accused Mr
Kenny of not living in the real world regarding
homelessness and suggested the Taoiseach must have
been off looking for water on Mars for the last four years,.
Sinn Fins Mary Lou McDonald accused the Taoiseach of
not living-up to his words regarding helping the homeless
as she recalled the death of rough sleeper Alan Murphy
close to the Dil last weekend.
Ms McDonald said little had changed since the death of
rough sleeper Jonathan Corrie near the Leinster House

gates last December.

Since Jonathan Corries death, the number of families
presenting as homeless has increased. The number of
children sleeping in emergency accommodation every
night has increased. Rents have continued to spiral
upwards. Evictions are becoming ever more frequent.
More and more families are turning to the state for help.

Jonathan Corrie
But instead of being offered shelter we have the appalling
situation of scores of families being turned away every
night, unable to source even emergency accommodation.
Councils meanwhile, desperately wait for the funds to
build the homes the families need. Charities desperately
wait for the funds to provide much-needed
You cut social housing funding in your first years in office.
You have not released the funding for local authorities to
build the homes despite some shovel-ready projects ready
to go since 2013, she said.
Mr Kenny said the Government was committed to the
medium-term eradication of homelessness which would
only come with the building of more social housing.
Believe me, it is not a shortage of money that has caused
the exacerbation here. It is not fit to have children and
families in bed and breakfast accommodation or to have

children homeless or staying in hotel rooms, the

Taoiseach told the Dil.

Mr Kenny defended the use of modular prefabs, saying

that they would be safe and warm for families.
They are in different shapes and forms. They are very
acceptable and are guaranteed for insulation, warmth and
comfort. They are also for families, so they are not in bed
and breakfast accommodation or hotel rooms. No matter
what happens, however, we cannot deal with the situation
effectively until one starts to put blocks and concrete on
the ground, Mr Kenny said.
The use of modular homes has been criticised by Renua
leader Lucinda Creighton who said she fears they will
become permanent, not emergency accommodation, and
lead to the creation of ghettos and slums.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly says he does not expect
new legislation will be needed to ensure the pre-fabs get
planning permission, but he is prepared to bring-in such
measures if needed.
Merchants Quay Ireland said the harsh reality was
reflected in a 19% increase last year in healthcare
interventions, a 28% jump in GP visits, and the provision
of 1,500 meals every week.
The agency has called on the Government to increase the
level of emergency accommodation and to use the likes of
McKee Barracks as a reception centre for the 1,000
children forced to live with their parents in B&Bs.

We are currently facing unprecedented levels of

homelessness that are further exacerbated by, and
contributing to, problem drug use, said MQI chief
executive Tony Geoghegan.
As a matter of urgency I call on the Government to hold
fast to their commitments to a just society and, as a
matter or urgency, to put in place the necessary resources
to make a real difference in the lives of people caught in
the misery of drugs and homelessness.
He said that last year there were a number of deaths,
including that of Jonathan Corrie yards from Leinster
House in December, which resulted in the Government
creating some 271 more emergency beds.
Those 271 beds are all full, said Mr Geoghegan. They
are now part of the mainstream system and still we have
more than 100 people sleeping rough.
He said MQI opened their night cafe last January and that
was also full.
We are coming into the winter months. People are
sleeping in tents in Phoenix Park and dont get included in
the homeless counts. I would be concerned for the winter.
Speaking before the publication of the organisations
annual review for 2014, he said he agreed with the
Government that a strategic approach was needed. But he
said that the extra housing, either public or social housing,
would take time, as would any move, welcome as it would
be, to regulate private rents.
As well as emergency beds, he called on the Government
to use the likes of McKee Barracks as a reception centre
for families living in B&Bs, who are forced out during the
day. He said such a centre would bring some sort of
normality to their lives.
The annual review said around 80,000 meals were
provided last year and 5,329 healthcare interventions
were made, an increase of 19%.
It said more than 1,000 people accessed their GP services
an increase of 28%.
These statistics reflect the harsh reality of homelessness
and drug use and life on the streets, said Mr Geoghegan.
Other figures show that 24,000 needle exchange
interventions were provided, a 6% rise on 2013. This
involved 3,179 individuals, including 527 new users. Some

2,888 people received counselling, an 18% rise on 2013.

Mr Geoghegan said more than half of the people attending
their St Francis Farm Residential Detox and Rehab units in
Carlow were from outside Dublin, from 19 counties.
It highlights the real need for detox and rehab facilities
across Ireland, he said.
The review is due to be unveiled this morning by President
Michael D Higgins.
Mr Geoghegan said the last time Mr Higgins released the
report it was 1995, when there were 2,500 people on
Now, thats just shy of 10,000, Mr Geoghegan said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was urged to declare homelessness
as a national emergency as people in temporary
accommodation looked on from the Dils public gallery.
Socialist TD Ruth Coppinger warned the Government was
not taking the crisis seriously enough as she compared
people affected by homelessness to the victims of the
Magdalene laundries.
Calling on Mr Kenny to treat the situation as a national
emergency, Ms Coppinger said: If he does not make that
simple admission, the type of emergency measures we
need will never be taken. There are homeless women and
men in the visitors gallery today who have come in hope
that the leader of this country may display a modicum of
urgency about the homeless nightmare into which they
and thousands like them have been plunged.
Their children are traumatised with serious physical and
psychological effects, travelling miles to school from farflung hotels and hostels and are unable to get healthy
food and so on. The Taoiseach shed a tear for the
Magdalenes. These are the Magdalenes of this generation
and in years to come, the Taoiseach will be held to
account for his action on homelessness, she said.
Ms Coppinger said government policy was directly
responsible for the plight of homeless families.
The families that are here today would never ordinarily
be homeless. In any other decade, they would be in
council or affordable housing, but that has been slashed in
recent years. The Government keeps telling us that it is
spending more on housing than anyone ever spent before.

Last week it told the Dil 4bn was being invested.

However, that 4bn is to be spent over six years. We need
4bn in one year to deal with the issue.

Amy Brennan, from Blanchardstown, has been homeless

since June with her two children, aged one and two years
of age
Some 20 council homes were completed in the first
quarter of 2015 and some 117 completed by housing
associations. If this level of building continues for the year,
we will have less than 500 social homes this year.
In 1975, the last housing emergency, some 8,794 local
authority homes were built. Why, therefore, in the middle
of a housing crisis did the Taoiseach see fit to reduce the
social housing obligation on private developers, from 20%
to 10%? Why, in the middle of a housing and homeless
crisis, is he allowing Nama to sell off hoards of property at
a massive discount? Ms Coppinger said.
Mr Kenny said the Government had embarked on an
ambitious house building programme, but accepted the
current situation was not satisfactory.
We cannot deal with homelessness in this form or any
other form until we provide more houses on the ground,
block, concrete or modular homes.
Focus Ireland
23 November 2016

we had a very kind young girl donate 526.75, from her

9th birthday party last week. This year instead of presents
she asked for money to donate to Focus Ireland.
Her father said Shes a very thoughtful little girl and
cannot understand why some people are homeless and
more so, why society and the government allow it
We wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to the girl for her very
generous and thoughtful donation.
Five years homeless not one single TD will help this could be anyone
your son daughter mother father anyone at all what I have had to
deal with in that time has been Notting short of shocking Notting
being done and their never will be anything done just excuse after
excuse if one of them had to live on the streets it would be a very
different story it continues to be a nightmare that's impossible to
get out.
Anti Irish government policies either introduced or condoned by the
very government that is supposed to work on behalf of the Irish
citizens. The same governments that brought in Vrt contrary to the
ethos of the EU, the same governments that allow banks charge the
highest rates in Europe , insurance and pharmaceutical companies
to fleece us etc. The list goes on. This is OUR government doing this
to us. People uniting against these injustices are the only way to
implement change.
Simon Coveney is trying to sneak a bill through the Dil that would
strip tenants of their rights and help make evictions easier. It was
debated in the Seanad tonight and could be pushed through as early
as this Friday in the Di
The new Eviction Bill
Fine Gael's Housing Bill is going before the Seanad today. In the
worst housing crisis Ireland as seen in a century, what are
government doing? According to this bill: facilitating evictions and
vulture landlords.
This short video aims to explain the new laws and regulations set
Mi Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies
Bill 2016
Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill
2016 [Seanad] Explanatory Memorandum
nister Coveney Launches Pillar 2 under Rebuilding Ireland Action
Plan for Housing and Homelessness
Action Plan for Housing and Home
Rebuilding Ireland_Action Plan Pillar 1- Address Homelessness

Addressing homelessness and keeping people in their own homes

Cudding up to keep warm. Young couple fight to keep warm..

Coming into 2017 and the homeless crisis is getting worst by the
But there are plenty of houses for Syrians
This is so sad, reality is we are all just a few pay cheques away from
this way of life, may god help them. it just awful

132 council houses are empty in Dublin despite homeless


Margaret Murtagh sold the three-bed terrace home in Drimnagh to

Dublin City Council
November 28, 16

SOME 132 council properties are empty, unused

and boarded up in Dublin despite the homeless
The Irish Sun has obtained shocking figures from
Dublin City Council which reveal housing stock lying
idle as the number of homeless families in the city
passes 1,000 for the first time.
Officials claim work is required on many properties
to bring them up to city council letting standards.
But last night homeless campaigners urged council

chiefs to take urgent action to put them to good

The Peter McVerry Trust told the Irish Sun: We dont
want to see any homes lying empty that could be
used to house the homeless.
A spokesman added: The council must work
quickly and effectively in allocating houses to
the homeless.
The situation is very serious. Urgent action is what
is needed.
After being quizzed by the Irish Sun, Dublin City
Council confirmed that more than 100 council
properties are currently empty in the Dublin region.
Asked how many were vacant, a spokesman said:
One hundred and thirty two. This represents 0.52
per cent of our total stock of approximately 25,600.
The council came under heavy criticism last week
after a homeowner who sold her house to the
council told how she was horrified to find it still lying
Margaret Murtagh sold the three-bed terrace home
in Drimnagh to Dublin City Council during the
summer in the hope that one of the families waiting
for social housing could move in.
But she was horrified to find the pristine Cooley
Road home still boarded up more than four weeks
after handing over the keys.
Contractors were sent out to the property by
the council after the story was highlighted in
the media.

And today the Irish Sun can reveal there are more
than 100 other council-owned properties also
Margaret insisted: Even if the council thinks the
house needs certain work, why not get in there and
do it quickly?
They have known about the sale of my old home
since the summer, I have been out of the house a
month. It is not good enough.
When you think about maybe improving insulation
what sort of insulation does a homeless person
have sleeping out in freezing conditions? It is
madness not to put someone in the house.
Dublin City Council maintained it was very aware
of the housing crisis and makes every effort to
allocate properties as quickly as possible, adding:
Whilst many private properties appear pristine,
there may be matters that require work under
health and safety and housing regulations.
An example might be the requirement for fire
doors, or insulation to improve energy efficiency.
But the Peter McVerry Trust insisted councils could
be doing a lot more to tackle the housing crisis.
A spokesman said: It is not acceptable to the
thousands of people in homelessness that they
should attempt to live their lives in emergency
accommodation while so many homes are allowed
to lie empty.

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO accuses the Minister of

massaging figures relating to rough sleepers

Good man convey, send them on to the hotel's and hostiles you ate
getting back handers from. Clever boy,lol
You should be ashamed of yourself I have been homeless five years
now and I will tell u as it is not one bit of help out their for me or
anybody like me Simon focus mcferry the biggest jokes of what all
they love every minute of this yet not one and I mean not one of
them will help us for hostels for god sake that's making everything

Government figures released this month revealed

more than 1,000 families in the capital where
Most live in emergency accommodation in hotels
but others are sleeping rough.



Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn today

urged the Minister to stand by his promise of extra
emergency accommodation beds throughout the winter.
Mr Flynn today stated that the promise of extra beds has
went on deaf ears and that services are struggling more
than ever with up to 169 rough sleepers without

emergency accommodation being forced to sleep on

Dublins streets. In recent weeks Minister Coveney had
promised the immediate implementation of up to 200
beds into the system which have not prevailed.

CEO Anthony Flynn of ICHH said;

Inner City Helping Homeless need your help. We are

appealing to the public for sleeping bag donations. The
cost of a graded quality sleeping bag has risen to to
14.50 per bag. The cost has risen 20% from summer

months and heavy demand has put stock piles under

severe pressure.

We need to face facts further inaction will result in deaths

on the streets. Record numbers are being engaged nightly
with little or no access to service. The demograph of those
presenting is younger than ever with those between the
ages of 18-25yrs being highest recorded. The council,
DRHE, and Minster have a responsibility we are well into
the cold winter initiative and require beds now. I am
asking the Minister to stand up to his promise and open
these beds before we see deaths.

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn today

slammed central government for not doing enough to
tackle the crisis short term. And predicted another
significant increase in children in emergency
The CEO today said;
'Our predictions month on month have not been far wrong,
and we are forecasting up to 2800 children in hotels this
Christmas. This is totally unacceptable. We need and
require structured exit programs for those who have been
trapped in emergency accommodation for 16 months or
more. For many hotel or b&b style accommodation has
become a way of life and seriously affects the
development of the child. Enough is not being done and
this time of year everyone deserves somewhere to call

There are currently 2,414 children in emergency

accommodation in Dublin.

Today saw Inner City Helping Homeless Head of

Fundraising Pauline Lyndon, Chairperson Christy Burke and
Volunteer Declan Curly collect a cheque for 10,000 from
the communications Workers Union. Inner City Helping
Homeless would like to thank all at the Union for there
generous donation towards our frontline services.


November 28, 16
THE NUMBER OF families homeless in Dublin has risen
sharply in the last two years, new figures show.
The total number of adults and children in homeless
families is now three times what it was two years ago
1,101 in October 2014, compared to 3,486 in October 2016.
The figures were compiled by the Dublin Regional
Homeless Executive for the citys councillors.
Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland, said in a
statement released to highlight the figures:
It is terrible to see that during the last year the number of
children who are homeless and living in emergency
accommodation in Dublin has increased by 57% from
1,343 to 2,110.
The Government has to change
The issue of homelessness was also highlighted on RTs
Today with Sean ORourke, which featured a 21-year-old
mother whod just registered herself homeless.
Joy, and her three-year-old daughter, Carly, are now living
in a hotel.

She said: Im only young, I come from a well-respected

family and I never thought Id see the day when Im in a
hotel room with a Christmas tree the size of my arm.
Ive seen people with studio apartments for 1,300 thats
not right, you cant live in those conditions. The
Government has to change, it really does. They have to do
something about it.
Massaging the figures
Meanwhile, a homeless charity has criticised Housing
Minister Simon Coveney for a Tweet saying that anybody
who needed shelter would be accommodated.
22 Nov

There was No kidnap


Simon Coveney

9:44 PM - 22 Nov 2016

Source: Simon Coveney/Twitter

The system has been in freefall for months with in excess

of 160 people sleeping rough, Inner City Helping
Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said.
In a statement this evening, Coveney highlighted a
number of arrangements in place for people who are
homeless in the city.

The Dublin Region Cold Weather Plan commenced

operation at the start of the month and will be subject to
ongoing review, he said.
This time of year can be very difficult for rough sleepers
as the temperatures can dip very quickly.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has a
comprehensive plan in place.
This annual proactive measure is undertaken each year as
winter approaches with the emphasis to have a variety of
additional options for people who generally do not / or
cannot avail of existing services, he said.
Currently the DRHE are in the process of making
preparations to open additional facilities to accommodate
rough sleepers. 210 beds will be provided in Dublin. It is
essential that we have sufficient beds to meet any
increased demand during cold weather. In addition to this
the Civil Defence will provide an additional 20 beds as a
response to extreme cold weather.
Responding to the figures highlighted today by Focus
Ireland, a spokesperson for DRHE said it was important to
highlight that people do move out of homelessness.
In the first 9 months of this year, 1,236 adult
individuals moved to tenancies, the spokesperson said.
The DRHE also highlighted the phone number to call for
people in need of emergency accommodation in Dublin:

The number of homeless families in Dublin

has surpassed 1,000 for first time, according
to the latest figures released by the
Department of Housing.
Official figures released tonight show a
record total of 6,709 people are now
homeless across the country. The figure
comprises 4,283 adults and 2,426 children.
The figures include 1,173 families.
This compares with a total of 6,611 in

The figures, which relate to the final full week
in September (19-25), also show that the vast
majority of homeless people are in Dublin:
5,058 out of 6,709.
The number of homeless families in
Dublin was 998 in August and this jumped to
1,014 in September.
Most of these are living in emergency
accommodation in hotels.
The figures also show that 65 families
became newly homeless in the capital in
Focus Ireland says the figures mean that 736
families with 1,389 children have become
homeless in Dublin in the first nine months of
this year.
The homeless charity said that while it is
supporting at least one family to move on
from homelessness every day this year the
reality is that inadequate prevention
strategies means more than one other family
becomes homeless every day.
Focus Ireland welcomed Government work on
the issue but stressed that the crisis will only
be ended when more action is taken to cut
the constant number of families - and single
people - becoming homeless every month.
Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said its
frontline staff have seen first-hand that the
two key reasons families are becoming
homeless is firstly, that landlords are selling

up and getting out of the business, and

secondly, rents are rising.
He said it is in the power of the Government
to tackle both these issues and while
ministers have taken some actions they have
not done enough, quickly enough.
In response to the homeless figures, Sinn
Fin's housing spokesperson Eoin
Broin said the increase in homelessness "is
not surprising given the Governments
inaction on measures to keep people in their
Mr Broin said: "every single day more
people are presenting as homeless. Home
repossessions, vacant possession of buy-tolet properties, spiralling rents and family
breakdown are the key reasons.
"Despite this the Government refuses to act
on rent certainty or home repossession.
"They are also failing to provide sufficient
long term housing through an aggressive
programme of purchase of vacant units or to
speed up the delivery process for social
The Department of Housing has said the
Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness,
which was published in July, provides for
early solutions to address the high number of
households in emergency accommodation.
It provides for 1,500 rapid build units.
The number of people homeless in Dublin has risen
sharply in the last year.
Figures issued by Focus Ireland show that a total of 5,146
adults and children were in emergency accommodation

last month, which is a rise of 35% on last year's figures.

The number of homeless families has risen almost five
times in the last two years with 1,026 families, including
2,110 children, in accommodation.
Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland, said: "It
is terrible to see that during the last year the number of
children who are homeless and living in emergency
accommodation has more than doubled from 916 to

We all know that the boarded up homes in Windtown

Navan have been like that for 3 years now, while the
number of homeless families on the streets continues to
Well it's the same story all over the country boarded
houses while people die on the streets. Was this what you
voted for in this year's election?

This realy is so sad a homeless young man explained to

myself and our volunteers out on streets doing our mobile
soup run
He would rather go back to prison than live like this
He explained to me at least ide have a warm bed and hot

How many homeless people are in prison because they

have no save place to sleep and no place to call home
This would realy break any body's hearth homeless people
committing petty crime to go to prison because they feel
saver in prison than on the streets
How much does it cost the tax payer and the state to keep
a prisoner in prison
This money could be better spent on ammergencey beds
and building more social housing to prevent homeless
people sleeping on the street's in the first place
Maybe if there were more ammergencey beds available to
the homeless people. The government would save money
on courts legal fees and prison costs
This day enage and homeless people are saying they
would rather be in prison because they have no were to
sleep other than on the streets
Our government should be a shamed of them self's
Govement needs to take ammediate action and open up
more amergencey beds for our homeless people sleeping
on the streets this winter and Christmas time
please share comment with your friends feed our
homeless inner-city Dublin are raising awareness up and
down the country highlighting just how bad our homeless
crisis realy has got on our streets of Dublin
Sickening, over paid, under accountable bastards in that
Dail. All of them, not just FG, though they are by far the
biggest B's. All members of FG should be shot.

35% rise in number of homeless

people in Dublin
Nov. 23, 2016

Latest figures show that the number of

homeless people in Dublin has risen 35%
within a year, despite over 1,200 secure
housing units being made available this year.
The figures show that there were a total of
5,146 adults and children in emergency
accommodation last month, a 35% increase
in the year.
There were 1,026 homeless families in
homeless accommodation including hotels - a
45% increase on last year.
The number of children has more than
doubled from 916 to 2,110.
The total number of adults and children in
homeless families is now five times what it
was two years ago.

The figures were compiled by the Dublin

Region Homeless Executive as an update for
Dublin city councillors.
The rough sleeper count, which was
conducted last night, is expected to show an
increase in the number on the streets when
the results are released.
Dublin Simon Community said the latest
figures are showing some recent
From January to July the numbers of
homeless were increasing at a rate of 3% a
But from August to October the rate declined
to under 1%.
CEO of Dublin Simon Sam McGuinness said
this was the result of measures to help those
in private rental as well as more housing
provision by local authorities.
Speaking on RT's News At One, Focus
Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said
the challenge surrounding the homeless
figures is to remain capable of being shocked
at the way in which the problem continues to
get worse.
He said that there is no one silver bullet, but
the most immediate solution could be to
change legislation to outlaw the practice of
banks evicting tenants after they repossess
"We estimate that about a third of the
families becoming homeless are becoming

homeless because buy-to-let landlords are

being forced to sell up.
He said the legislation currently before the
Dil needs to be changed so that "it outlaws
the practice where banks when they
repossess buy-to-let properties evict the
"The banks, obviously, would still be able to
sell the property, but they would sell the
property with the tenants still in place."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said it was not
satisfactory to have children and families in
hotel rooms and Minister for Housing Simon
Coveney has set out an ambitious target of
having no family in a hotel room through
homelessness by the middle of next year.
He said the minister would bring forward a
comprehensive strategy in the next couple of
weeks to the Dail, which will deal with a
greater degree of stability both for landlords
and for tenants.

A homeless mother has realised her dreams after being

accepted into the prestigious Trinity College with
hopes she can finally break out of the poverty gap.
Erica Fleming, 30, has been homeless with her young
daughter, Emily, 9, for almost a year.
The mother and daughter have been living in
emergency accommodation, one of the more than
1,000 families and over 2,000 children living in hostels
and hotels.
In a bid to fight her way out of poverty, Erica - who is a
campaigner for the homeless - applied to Trinity
College, an institution she felt was out of reach
And now she hopes attending Irelands top college will
inspire Emily to follow in her footsteps.
Erica beamed: I didnt dream Id get accepted. I am
over the moon, thrilled.
My daughter Emily was recently there on a tour before
I applied, so its a big deal for her too. She is so proud

of me.
MORE: As many as 5,000 houses are empty in
South Dublin
I kept saying to Emily Youre going to college, and she
said she couldnt that we wouldnt have the money.
She said she needed a laptop to go, and I said we
would do it. That she is going to do well. And now I am
going to one of the best colleges in the world and that
has showed my daughter, she can do it.
This has been a very tough year. I never in my wildest
dreams thought I would be accepted in to such a
prestigious college, but I have to say I dont think Id
even have applied if I hadnt been homeless.
This adversity has pushed me on to fight.
There were only 25 places on the course and Erica
impressed the college so much she was one of the
lucky ones to gain a spot on the free Trinity Access
She will be studying several modules including social
studies, law, and ironically, political studies.
The mother, who works part-time to support her
daughter, has spent recent months lobbying the
Government on homelessness as the toll of those in
emergency accommodation hits a record high.
But she insists she has no plans of entering the political
arena for a career.
Instead, Erica says she would like to become a social
And after completing the access programme, she then
plans to study a degree at the college.
MORE: 731 children have been made

homeless in Dublin so far in 2016

Erica credits Dublin Social Democrat Councillor Gary
Gannon with spurring her on to apply to Trinity, after
he gave her a pep talk that she was capable of studying
Erica said: I said to Gary, I couldnt afford to go to
Trinity and he told me about this course and said Erica,
you can go to Trinity. Look at all youve done without
anyone holding your hand."
The single mum recently gave an impassioned speech
at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis and she is a regular
contributor to TV and radio shows on the housing
Erica added: Trinity College is famous across the world.
I still cant believe Ill be going there.
"I could change everything now. I can change our
This is the happiest Ive been in a long time and I know
Im inspiring my daughter and to do it after what we
have been through it makes it all the more
I am literally on cloud nine, I cant believe it. My life, my
daughters life, could change from here. Its like I am
one step on the ladder.
Last year Erica and Emily appeared in the RTE TV
documentary, My Homeless Family.
This was the first time the nation got a glimpse in to the
lives of an increasing number of families who have
become homeless.
The state spent 16million on hotels for the homeless
last year in Dublin alone.

Mum Niamh said Eve always asked questions about the

homeless on the street and whether they had food or not.
Eve wanted to give them money but I suggested she gave
them food instead because it would be better.
Eve spent 60 of her communion money on rolls, crisps,
chocolate and flavoured water. She filled her bag and off
she went, said Niamh.
Niamh was surprised that Eve wasnt afraid at all to
approach the homeless and told her mum that it felt
really good to help those in need.
The homeless were really surprised by her and they were
grateful. People were looking at her and then at me, as if to
say is she for real?. Everyone took the food and one man
even called her a little angel.
Eve ran out of food by the time she got to the Hapenny
Bridge but refilled her bag when she saw three more
homeless people sitting on the bridge.
Shes just such a lovely, generous girl. Shes a little
mammy. She has two younger brothers and shes always
looking after them too.
Eve enjoyed helping the homeless so much that she
begged her mum to do it every month.
Her younger brother is making his communion in a
couple of years and hes already talking about using his

money to buy blankets. Its going to be a competition in

this house.
We havent a lot either, but there are always people out
there who are more in need

ITS ALMOST 8PM and the Dublin Simon Community

volunteers are ready for their nightly soup run.
In pairs, they cover four routes around Dublin city centre,
aiming to touch base with homeless people to offer food,
warm drinks or a chat.
Annmarie Brennan, who works with Dublin Simon
Community, says they try to make it more than just soup
and a sandwich by linking with the rough-sleeper team or
the mobile health unit.
Walter, who has been volunteering with the soup run for
three years, maintains that they usually attract long-term
Once you start, you tend to stay involved and it becomes
part of your week. Its not a huge commitment, its not
difficult and its not dangerous.

O'Connell Bridge

Walter joined the group after coming across a volunteer

fair on his way home from work.
I was working on Jervis Street in 2012 and it really struck
me how prevalent homelessness was, Id never worked in
the city centre before. Then I came across Simon and they
really synchronised with what I was looking to do.
Volunteers are selected by interview process and receive
training before they head off on the soup runs.


One volunteer is assigned every night to come in early and

make preparations for the soup run.
The evening we visit, there are sandwiches (chicken, tuna
and sweetcorn, and ham and cheese) cereal bars, fruit and
clothing. Dublin Simon buys the sandwiches and the rest
is donated. Flasks filled with vegetable soup, tea and coffee
are placed into a rucksack.
People give donations of hats, socks and gloves at
Christmas time but forget that the weather can be bad
year-round, according to Walter.
Its amazing the difference that dry socks and underwear

makes to people, he says.

The man in the bed beside me was

injecting heroin into his groin, thats
when I decided not to stay in hostels


Walter and Annmarie dont recognise the first homeless

person we come across, which is unusual as they know
most of the people by name. We soon learn that Alex has
only become homeless in the last few months.
Hes sitting at the corner of College Green, reading a
newspaper section on Brexit and tells us: If you asked me
six months ago, I never wouldve thought Id end up here.
Although he politely declines our offers of food and warm
drinks, hes interested in having a quick chat with us.
My only crime was catching my ex-wife being, shall we
say, unfaithful to me. I worked for her dad too, so I lost
everything overnight.
He stayed in the Generator in Smithfield until his money

ran out and then he tried out a hostel for homeless people
but after two nights made the decision not to stay there
The first night I stayed, I woke up and a guys runners had
been stolen so he was just walking around barefoot. The
second night, a guy in the bed next to me was injecting
heroin into his groin, the bed was covered in blood.
Alexs family dont know that hes living on the street. His
parents arent in a position to take him in so he doesnt
want to worry them. Alex says he doesnt take drugs and a
lot of the homeless services are geared towards helping
people with drug problems.
Lifting up the leg of his trousers, he exposes a gash on his
shin thats barely scabbed over.
I was sleeping outside Stephens Green shopping centre
and I woke up to four posh boys as it were, kicking
lumps out of me. The trouble isnt always from people you
think drunk people can be particularly bad.
Im beneath them in their eyes, they dont see that Ive
worked for 17 years. Seventeen years paying taxes and I get
nothing. I cant get dole because Ive no address and I cant
get somewhere to stay because I refuse to stay in hostels.
The worst thing about homelessness, according to Alex, is
the boredom. To keep himself occupied he reads a lot,
does crosswords and spends time Stephens Green.
I woke up this morning, from the knees down, literally in
a puddle. Of course, that part of homelessness isnt nice
either, he says.

Outside Tiger on Nassau Street, we meet a homeless man

with three books spread across his sleeping bag, propped
upright with a cardboard box. He tells us stories about
being asked to join a kids soccer team, and someone
knifing him to steal his book on Irish history.
Walter hands him two sandwiches and a cup of tea as he
tells us his landlord kicked him out because he had too
much clothes and they broke the wardrobe.
He says that hes made his bed for the night and wont be
looking for any accommodation.
Walking up towards Dawson Street, Walter says kindly
that some of the stories have to be taken with a bag of salt
rather than a pinch of salt.

Three years ago, I wouldnt have even

looked at a homeless person

I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemies and I have a few

enemies but I wouldnt wish it on them. Its hell, one
man, who preferred not to be named, tells us.
He talks about Jonathan Corrie, who was a friend of his.
Corrie was a homeless man whose death in 2014 sparked a
national conversation about solving the homelessness
When he died, there was all this talk of a big change, well

we are still waiting for that big change.

Like Alex, this man never thought he would end up

homeless. He became homeless after leaving prison in
2013 and called on the people in Leinster House to come
out for one night and experience what I experience.
Three years ago I wouldnt look at a homeless person but
now Id give, and have given, another homeless person the
coat off my back, he finishes.

On the soup runs, volunteers keep count of homeless people on each route.

We stop in a shop front along Dawson Street to give a

couple, Lisa and Shane, some sandwiches, coffee, cereal

bars and an orange. As we are pouring the coffee, two
young men walk past and stop to ask for a cup of tea.
Walter obliges as another guy stops up and asks for tea
too. He asks for two sugars and as I spoon it out he
reaches for the spoon. As I hand him a wooden stirrer he
exclaims Youre not giving me the spoon? Ah here, but
accepts and wanders off.
Although the soup run builds relationships with the same
people, Walter advises that volunteers have to push back
disillusions: You are very conscious that its just
immediate relief. I work in town and the problem has
gotten worse.
You see a lot of people affected by drugs. Its the chicken
and egg thing: are they homeless because they took drugs?
Or are they taking drugs because they are homeless?
Walter says he has rarely felt in danger while doing the
soup runs.
Theres been the odd occasion where you feel I need to
get away from here and thats what we do and thats what
were trained to do. We always go in pairs, Walter
explains when discussing potential dangers of the soup
Early on in the evening, he explains why they move from
person to person:
If you stand and people come to you and a group gathers,
something could tip off among themselves.
Ive never had grief or aggro with anyone. Sometimes
people are rude but thats just a fact of life.

If it was easy to get off the streets, do you

think Id still be sitting here?

Minutes before 10pm we meet Anton, crouched in a

doorway on Grafton Street. Walter pours him a cup of
soup and Anton thanks him, saying its a huge help having
something warm.
After a few minutes, Anton starts talking about what the
worst part of being homeless is.
It sucks, you lose your clothes, your possessions. Youre
out all day but Im lucky to have good friends.
Its important not to piss your friends off and not to piss
other people off.
Walter says that the homeless community is a small one
and if something goes wrong, theres nowhere to hide.
Anton had been living with his mother but after she died
he couldnt keep up with rent payments and couldnt hold
on to the house.
Anton acknowledges that substance abuse is a big part of
why hes still on the streets three years later. He suffers
with mental health issues and turned to drugs to try and

solve them.
How do I spend my days? Drinking, taking drugs and
thats the rut Im stuck in
My family Im estranged from [them]. I was supposed to
meet them last week but I just couldnt. I was in bits.
Anton assures us he will be ringing the freephone for
homeless service 10.30pm to try get a bed for the night.
I am guilty of not doing more to help myself, but theres
not enough places under the Homeless Assistance
Payment scheme and theres no-one to help you find that
place. It doesnt matter to me whether rent supplements
go up 30% or 100% I still wont be able to get a house.
Do you think if it was easy Id be sitting here? Im just fed
up, says Anton.
An evening doing a soup run is an eye-opening experience
you see the conditions that homeless people have to live
in and hear the stories of how they ended up on the
The Dublin Simon volunteers are kind and make an effort
to reach out to people and check where they are staying
that night. Something as simple as a chat, a cup of tea or a
pair of socks is a big help, according to the homeless
people we spoke to.
The stories we heard showed that most people never
expected to end up homeless. They fell through the cracks
somehow a family breakdown, lack of access to mental
health services, criminal behaviour or drugs.
Homelessness could happen to anyone, especially those
most in need of help.

Tyrrelstown residents facing eviction from their homes

have called on the Government to buy their houses.
It has now been three months since dozens of families in
Cruise Park were told the homes they were renting
were being sold to an American 'vulture fund'.
Today the government's Housing and Homeless
Committee heard of the residents' efforts to keep a roof
over their heads despite being served with eviction

Marta Bestrzynscy with her children Julia 6 & Emil 4 from

Tyrrelstown during a protest in Dawson Street

The group of tenants gave a proposal to the committee,

calling on the Government to buy their houses for use as
social and affordable housing.
One resident, Funke Tobun said they were very upset by
the letters asking them to leave.
Reading the residents submission, she said: We are part
of the community of Tyrrelstown. Our children go to the
local schools, take part in the local sports clubs.
"We have built a life here. We have sunk roots here and
we consider Tyrrelstown our home.

Michael says that the last time he slept in Dublin city

centre he was attacked

A number of homeless people living in tents

alongside the Luas Green line in Dublin have
said it is safer than staying in Dublin city
Six tents, which are sheltering seven people
and a dog, can be seen clearly by commuters
travelling on the Luas through Milltown.
One of the tent-dwellers, 30-year-old Michael,

says he first arrived at the makeshift camp

last month.
"It's a lot safer than staying in Dublin city
centre. Last time I fell asleep on the streets in
the city centre I was set upon. This isn't the
worse, but it is as cold as hell," he said.

Another of the homeless people living in the

camp is 24-year-old Carlos.
He said he has chosen to live in a tent
because he was "risking hypothermia
sleeping in doorways".
"If you're clean off drugs, young and
homeless in Dublin the authorities will not
help you. They don't consider you a crisis,"
he explained.
Like Michael, Carlos believes much of the
emergency accommodation available to the
homeless in Dublin is unsuitable.

"There are syringes, drugs, robberies, blades

and knives. There are people dying on a
regular basis. People being shot at. People
being stabbed. People who have overdosed
and died."
Earlier this week, new figures revealed that
the number of homeless people in Dublin had
risen by more than a third in the past year.
The figures, compiled by the Dublin Region
Homeless Executive as an update for Dublin
city councillors, showed that there was a
total of 5,146 adults and children in
emergency accommodation last month, a
35% increase in the year.
Carlos and Michael believe the extent of the
crisis is much worse.
However, they do not want to be seen as
mere statistics.
"I'm not immune to hunger. I'm not immune
to feeling lonely, feeling helpless and feeling
a lack of self-worth. I'm just like everybody

else. But I've lived this life for a ridiculous

amount of time and it's unacceptable," Carlos
A Homeless man urinated on by group of
youths in Dublin



"Last night at 1.30am I got a phone call from one of my

friends daughter. She was distressed and it took her a
while to calm down and explain to me exactly what had
happened. I was also a little perplexed as to why she was
calling me. Then she explained and I was upset,furious
and disgusted about what had happened.
She had been waiting for a bus when she saw 4 youths
approach a homeless guy sleeping when one of of them
actually urinated on the homeless guy right infront of her
eyes, whist the others looked on laughing. Without
thinking she ran over screaming at them to stop but after
giving her abuse they ran off.
The guy they had urinated on was obviously mortified and
very upset about what had happened and all she could
think of doing was ringing me, knowing how I helped with
the homeless Usually I would have contacted Inner City
helping the homeless to see if they could get out to her
but their line was busy and with her being so upset I just
picked up an emergency bag we have ready, with a full set
of warm clothes, towels, wipes, sleeping bag and went

straight out to them.

The guys name was Thomas and he was extremely
embarrassed and very upset. At 67 years old he had fallen
on hard times and admitted he had turned to the drink.
But refused to sleep in the hostels as he never felt safe. I
tried to convince him to let me take him to the Merchants
Quay Night Cafe where he could shower and change but
he was just too embarrassed and ashamed. He also
refused to let me call the Gardi to report the incident.
Instead all I could do was encourage him to change out of
the soiled top and trousers wash himself down and put on
a clean dry change of clothing. All the time whist couples
walked passed, not caring about what had happened. Too
busy to even take a moment to ask if he was ok. After he
got changed we took him to Burger King and got him
something to eat and drink whist still trying to encourage
him to let me try and get him a bed for the night But no all
he would take was a fresh sleeping bag and a pillow
assuring us that he would be ok and would go to
Merchants Quay tomorrow for a shower. I cried leaving him
as did this wee girl who had called me. How can our fallen
heroes be treated this way. Not only by a government that
has failed them but by a society that feels it's ok to treat a
fellow human being in this way. I swear if I'd seen this
happen I'd be locked up by now for assault. God forgive
them and also those too who saw this happen and ignored
I'm just heart broken Please god he will find his way and
get off the streets. I have said I will call to see him tonight
and have asked ICHH to keep an eye out for him on their
travels in the area Wish we could do more but apart from
bring him home with me - what ?
Bastards. What goes around comes around.
Poor man there are a lot of people in the same situation sleeping on
streets & geting abused some atacked it's time the government
sorted it self out with the homeless & stop making life so hard for
those having hard times them young fellas what goes around comes
around. Aine Marie & the young girl people can learn from you.
Stand up to scum like them lads & they will go cause they are
cowards speak up for them who cant

"The poor gentlemen was more concerned about

getting her home than himself.

"He told us about how his wife had died a few years
ago and how he just melted and had fallen on hard
"He started drinking and sadly ended up on the
Julie revealed that the man is afraid to go to a hostel
because he doesn't feel safe there.
She added: "I have a lot of contact with Merchants
Quay and offered to take him there for a shower and
something to eat.
"But he was mortified. He didn't want any attention or
help. He wouldn't go to the guards because even if the
youths were prosecuted that nothing was happen.
"He just wanted to keep things quiet and keep to
"We gave him a change of clothes and a new sleeping
"He didn't want any attention or pity. He was more
concerned about us than he was about ourselves.
"A lot of people living on the streets are just normal
guys who have fallen on hard times.
"We're not a third world country. We shouldn't have
our own people left with no choice but to sleep on the

Discrimination against homeless non-nationals by

homeless services in Dublin has been alleged in an
unpublished report.
The report, written by Crosscare, the Social Support
Agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, says
non-nationals are being refused and denied access
to homelessness services by Dublin City Councils
central placement service (CPS), for questionable

It also says non-nationals are incorrectly being denied

the opportunity to apply for social housing.
Dated March 2015, the report says homeless nonnationals are routinely being summarily turned away
at the door [of the CPS] after cursory questioning as
regards their nationality and/or period of residence in
the country.
The report was brought to The Irish Times by its
author, an employee of Crosscare. The charity would
not comment on the report last night.

Conclusions rejected
A spokesman for the Dublin Region Homeless
Executive (DRHE), which co-ordinates homeless
services in Dublin, rejected the conclusions of the
report, saying: A destitute migrant at risk of
homelessness and referred to/presenting to CPS will be
assessed and we will place the person or household
into emergency accommodation...We always seek to
prevent rough sleeping in Dublin and ensure an
effective response.
According to Department of the Environment
regulations, EEA nationals are entitled to social
housing support from their local authority if they are
working, or if unemployed if they had been working for
at least a year.
The EEA includes all EU states and Norway, Iceland,
Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Non-EEA nationals must prove an aggregate of at
least five years prior residence.
The Crosscare report says at least 80 non-nationals
Crosscare had dealt with who should have been
assisted by the CPS were instead referred on to the
New Communities Unit (NCU) run by the Department
of Social Protection.
The NCU said in 2013 it provided emergency

accommodation to 2,756 customers - an average of

53 per week.
The nationalities of those accommodated include
Polish, Romanian, Moldovan, Lithuanian, Latvian,
Nigerian, Bulgarian, South African, Somali and
American, it said.
The report said the basis upon which the CPS does not
provide non-nationals with emergency accommodation
is unclear.
The DRHE spokesman said this was not an official
report and was not sought nor commissioned by
DRHE. It was an internal report within a NGO service
provider, and not to be considered reliable.

The Minister for Housing has said it will take time to turn
the tide on homelessness following the release of the
latest figures on the crisis.
Yesterday it emerged that the number of homeless families in
Dublin had surpassed 1,000 for the first time ever.
A total of 736 families have become homeless in Dublin this
year alone.
Nationally, a record figure of 6,709 people - including 2,426
children - are living in state funded emergency or temporary
Housing Minister, Simon Coveney said the figures are a
reminder of the significant challenge we face in tackling the
homeless crisis.
Since Rebuilding Ireland was launched in July, weve made
sustained efforts to deliver the plans objectives in relation to
addressing homelessness, he said.

I have said that it will take time to turn the tide on

homelessness for both families and individuals.
Sinn Fin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald said the
government's record on homelessness is "abysmal" and
called for the introduction of rent certainty to deal with the
She said there are, "thousands of other citizens and families
who live in absolute fear of hikes in their rent that might push
them into homelessness."
Despite all the talk of understanding the situation and high
profile launches, Minister Simon Coveney, like Alan Kelly
before him, is failing to take the urgent action required to keep
people in their homes and provide housing for those trapped
in emergency accommodation," she said.
What we need are solutions now. Not one more family and
not one more child should be made homeless.
"The government must commit to the single biggest step they
could take that would stop people falling into homelessness
and that is rent certainty linked to the Consumer Price Index.
A statement from the Department of Housing said an extra
28m in resources for tackling homelessness has been set
aside for 2017.
We will have more than 300 rapid delivery homes under
construction by year end, said Minister Coveney.
Multiple initiatives to bring vacant properties into use are
underway with both the Housing Agency and local authorities.
"We are focused on accelerating delivery of the strategy which
is just three months old in order to make a measurable impact
on homelessness."
The department said the Rebuilding Ireland strategy aims to
address the unacceptable level of families in emergency
accommodation and to end the reliance on commercial hotels
except in very limited circumstances - by mid-2017.
Focus Ireland says the number of homeless families in
Dublin has surpassed 1,000 for the first time.
The charity's figures show that 65 families became newly

homeless in the city in September.

It brings the total to 736 families - including 1,389 children having become homeless in Dublin in the first nine months
Meanwhile, national figures released by the Government this
evening show there are a total of 6,709 people homeless
nationwide. That includes 1,173 families and 2,426 children in
emergency or temporary accomodation.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, said: We
need to stop the constant flow of families and single people
becoming homeless. Our frontline staff have seen first-hand
that the two key reasons families are becoming homeless is
one, landlords are selling up and getting out of the business,
and two, rising rents.
"Both these issues are within the power of the Government to
tackle and while they have taken some actions they have
clearly not done enough, fast enough," he added.
Sinn Fin housing spokesperson oin Broin, meanwhile,
said the latest figures are "not surprising given the
Government's inaction".
He suggested: Every single day more people are presenting
as homeless. Home repossessions, vacant possession of buyto-let properties, spiralling rents and family breakdown are the
key reasons.
It is also deeply disappointing to see the Minister delay the
release of the September figures and then quietly post them
on the Department's website late in the evening when the
country's media is focused on the Brexit Forum. This smacks
of trying to brush this bad news under the carpet," he added.

Department of Housing

Luas have teamed up with Inner City Helping

Homeless to launch a Christmas Shoe Box Appeal.
Last year they collected, and distributed, a total of
3,000 shoe boxes and this year they're hoping for
Thinking of ways you can help the less-fortunate
this Christmas? This is it.
Christmas is a time where a lot of us indulge and
spend more than we normally would both buying
gifts for loved ones and treating ourselves. But for

some people it's the roughest, toughest and

coldest time of the year.
So why not do your bit and grab a few of the
following things to put in a shoe box for Dublin's
homeless this Christmas...
Tooth paste/tooth brush
Roll on deodorant
Shower gel and shampoo
Hand and body lotion
Chocolate or sweets
Hygiene products
It couldn't be easier to get your hands on these bits
'n' bobs and to put them in a shoe box and wrap
'em up you'll make someone's Christmas.

You Know It's Christmas (feat. West

Wicklow Voices)
Dec 14, 2015
Buy 'You Know It's Christmas' here
Christmas is one of the toughest and trying times of the year
for the homeless and underprivileged families.
But this Christmas we can all make a difference! Mark Caplice ,
a singer songwriter from Wicklow performing as Kolumbus has
just released a Christmas single with all proceeds going to
Inner City Helping Homeless alongside the Lions Club
Christmas Appeal, Baltinglass, are delighted to have been
chosen by Mark as part of his campaign to raise money for
those in need during the holiday season!
A big thanks to West Wicklow Voices, Coras kids choir, and all
who helped make this recording what it is.

A group of people who launched a new campaign against

homelessness constructed four homeless shelter pods in

Dublin overnight.
The group says the pods were built to "provide some
semblance of security for a fraction of the people sleeping
rough in Dublin".
"We know these pods are not a sustainable solution to the
homelessness crisis - and anyway, sleeping in a cold
plywood box is only marginally better than sleeping on the
street. We built them because we were saddened and
ashamed of the State's efforts, or lack thereof, to tackle

Just in front of Busaras, a

'shelter pod' highlighting

wheelchair-bound homeless Dublin person goes viral on

social media

In what can only be described as tremendously sad and

devastating, this picture of a homeless Dublin person who is
wheelchair-bound was posted to Facebook and has rightfully
gone viral.
Dubliner, Dermot Ringwood said he saw this person on
Grafton Street and that he was ashamed to be an Irishman
looking at such a tragic sight.
Not alone Dermot and the rest of us, Enda Kenny, Joan

Burton, Varadkar, Coveney, Harris, White, Noonan, Nash and

every single other TD should be absolutely ashamed of
themselves and hang their heads in shame to see such a photo
being shared on Facebook and Twitter.
One social media user said: We should all share this image on
Facebook, everyone should see it.
Dermot finished by saying The government should be
ashamed of themselves, theyre a bunch of wasters.
One would have to agree with Dermots summary of the
government on the homeless crisis.

As if these people do not have enough to deal with. Then

some scumbags do this.

What kind of people do things like

this? Our Irish government really
needs to take action immediately
and open up emergency beds
before somebody gets seriously
injured on our streets or worse
still dies through hypothermia on
the streets of Dublin.

Homeless people were sleeping in a doorway when

their belongings were set on fire last night.
Tony Walsh, a volunteer who hands out food to the
people living on Dublin's streets, came across the
scene while doing the rounds last night.
Walsh came across a couple of homeless people
who had been sleeping on cardboard, surrounded
by bags of rubbish for warmth, when a thug set
the cardboard on fire.
Well does it surprise u? A lot of this happens daily...they get
abused...urinated on....beat up and worse. But its not spoken of or actually glad to see its on social media to highlight
the reality and horror that is of homelessness...people all over the
country need to sign up to merchants quay Ireland and start
donating to this charity as they work directly with the homeless on
the streets and in rehabilitation...they need more badly needed
funds and people need be more generous not just sigh and come
out with useless words like ouch thats terrible and oh poor them !
Or its the government...and yes the government have a
responsibilities to regonise this and make provisions to help but
irish people all over also have to do their part all o us who are
blessed to have our needs met need to share with others who have
10% of people moved out of emergency accommodation
into a home
59% of people in emergency accommodation have been
homeless for more than two years- 31% increase in those
accessing addiction treatment services- 46% increase in
housing capacity (through opening and acquiring 109 new
properties in 2015)- 59% increase in those accessing

NEW FIGURES RELEASED by Focus Ireland show that

85 families became newly homeless in Dublin in March.
These latest figures mean that 293 families, including
approximately 600 children, have become homeless in the
first three months of the year in the capital.
A record total of 125 families became homeless in Dublin
in January and 83 became homeless in February.
Separate figures published today by the Department of the
Environment show that the number of families and
children in emergency accommodation at a national level
at the end of February represented a 112% increase when
compared to the same time last year.
The figures are up from 429 families with 938 children in
February 2015 to 912 families and 1,881 children in
February 2016.

Source: Department of the Environment

Focus Irelands director of advocacy Mike Allen said the

new figures clearly show that the family homeless crisis is
continuing to deepen. Almost 300 newly homeless
families were referred to the organisation in the first three
months of this year compared to a total of 739 families
becoming homeless in Dublin during the whole of 2015.
Allen added that many more single people have also
become homeless during this time.
Focus Ireland said it helps at least one family a day to
secure a home with the support of the Dublin Region
Homeless Executive and local authorities. However, at
least three families are becoming newly homeless every
Last month the charity launched a five-point plan it wants
to feature in the next programme for government. The
document called for a commitment to end family
homelessness with a firm target date, and also a
commitment to build 40,000 social homes over the next
five years.
Niamh Randall of the Simon Communities said the fact
close to 6,000 people are in emergency accommodation
is appalling.

We are now waiting over a month for a government to be

formed to hopefully provide some leadership on this crisis.
A crisis whereby 5,881 people are trapped in emergency
accommodation, are living in hostels, hotels and B & Bs;
trying to get their children to school, to get homework
done and meals cooked all in one small room.
We desperately need short-, medium-, and long-term
measures to increase housing supply and to prevent more
people from becoming homeless.
Groups working with the homeless have again raised their
concerns after it emerged that 97 families in Dublin
became homeless in just one month while the number of
homeless children has now passed 2,000 for the first time.

New figures from Focus Ireland indicated that in July, 97

families became newly homeless in Dublin and were
referred to its family services - meaning that 599 families
and 1,202 children have become homeless in the first
seven months of this year.
The Focus Ireland figures came after the Dublin Region
Homeless Executive released figures that showed there
were 2,020 children and 993 families in emergency
accommodation in the Dublin region.
That compares with 1,894 children and 939 families in the
previous month, while in July 2015 the number of

homeless families was 556.

The organisation said there needed to be more action to
implement the Governments recently announced Action
Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen said: It is
highly concerning that nearly 100 more families became
homeless in Dublin alone last month. This is sadly one of
the highest number of families who have become
homeless in one single month.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen

It is worth noting that the eviction of many of these
families would have started a number of weeks ago, so
that we are not yet seeing any positive impact from the
Governments decision to increase rent supplement levels.
However, there are indications that an increasing number
of families are becoming homeless because their landlord
is selling up, or being forced to sell up. The fact that there
is no immediate response in the action plan to this
growing factor is of grave concern and shows that the
range of actions in the plan needs to be widened.
The view was echoed by a spokesperson for the Dublin
Simon Community, who said: The continuing rise in the
number of vulnerable families and children becoming
homeless highlights once again the urgent need for the
implementation of the Housing and Homeless Action Plan.

The new action plan has outlined measures to limit the

use of emergency accommodation for families in Dublin
and ensure that hotels are only used in limited
circumstances by mid 2017.
The rate of homelessness for children is also increasing at
a rapid rate in Dublin and has exceeded 2,000 for the first
time since current records began. In July 2015, there were
1,185 children in emergency accommodation. This is an
astounding 70% increase in the last 12 months.
Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said he felt
depressed resignation over the figures, which he said
were shocking.

Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry

Regarding the number of homeless children, he said it was
an appalling indictment of the country and had lost
shock value as they had become the norm now.
He said he welcomed the plan laid out recently by the
Government, but said elements of it were not due to be
implemented for some time, yet families were living in
difficult conditions in hotel bedrooms.
The tensions within the family increase obviously as time
goes on, the children are stressed out, their education is
suffering because they are stressed out, the parents are
stressed out, he told RT, saying living in such

circumstances is going to affect those families and those

children for the rest of their lives.
The highest numbers were in Dublin; in November there
were 1,466 homeless children

The number of homeless children in the State peaked

in November last year, almost doubling from 865 in
401 families in January 2015, to 1,709 children in 813
families in November, the just-published end-of-year
figures show.
The data, released last night by the Department of the
Environment, shows the number of children and
families in emergency accommodation fell slightly in
December, to 1,616 children in 775 families.
This was the only month when the numbers fell last
year a blip that has been put down to some families
being taken in by extended family during the
Christmas period and a disinclination of landlords to
evict families at that time of year.
The highest numbers were in Dublin; in November
there were 1,466 children in 705 families, falling in
December to 1,409 children in 683 families.
This compares with 780 homeless children in 359
families in the capital at the start of last year up 87

per cent over the year.

Outside Dublin, the highest numbers were in the
southwest including Cork city where there were 52
homeless children in 24 families in December, a 100
per cent increase on the 26 children in 13 families at
the start of 2015.
Lone parents
Most homeless children continue to be in families
headed by lone parents, reflecting their far higher risk
of poverty.
Of the 1,616 homeless children in December, 940, or
58 per cent, were in the care of single parents.
The breakdown in November was almost identical
some 996 (58 per cent) of the 1,709 children nationally
were in lone-parent families.
Concern has been expressed about the adverse impact
on children of long-term stays in emergency
accommodation by a range of human and childrens
rights bodies, most recently by the UN Committee on
the Rights of the Child.
More heartbreaking figures.

Thugs urinated on homeless man

Homeless mum Erica

Fleming signed up to top
Irish modelling agency
The homeless campaigner has been living in
a hotel room with her daughter for a year

Homeless mum Erica Fleming - who has been living in a

hotel room with her daughter for a year - has been signed
up to a top Irish modelling agency.
Erica has been working part-time in an office while she
has been living in emergency accommodation with her 10year-old daughter Emily.
The 30-year-old has signed up to the prestigious Morgan
Modelling Agency along with her daughter, but they have
yet to be hired for any jobs.
Under the contract with Morgan, she can be called in for
work on TV adverts and promotion work for clients.

Erica Fleming and Emily before they became homeless

The agency's founder Rebecca Morgan said she was

happy to have Erica on board, but the homeless mum has
not been paid any money yet.
Rebecca told the Irish Daily Star: "I don't pay them
because I don't employ them. It is the clients who pay
them and so far Erica has not received any work from us.
"Our commercial section is not modelling per se but she
can be paid to appear in TV commercials or whatever. She
got on to us and asked if she could join to try get herself
up and running."

Erica Fleming and daughter Emily, 9, in the hotel room where

they have been for a year today

Politician Bill Tormey rows back on Twitter remarks about

homeless mum Erica Fleming
Speaking through a representative on Thursday, Erica said
she signed up to the agency before becoming a homeless
campaigner and receives no additional income from it.

The representative said: "She became part of it even

before she became a campaigner for the homeless but
she didn't intend to become a model or anything.
"She's not seeking any work out of it. There are hundreds
of people on that commercial board. She has never
received any income from it."
Erica has been the target of abuse on social media
recently about her efforts to study at Trinity College.
She was accepted into an access programme at the
university, but later found out that her Back to Education
Allowance (BTEA) application was denied .
The doting mum had been desperately wants to improve
her learning ability so had applied to Trinity Access
Program with the hope of qualifying with a degree.

August 26th 2016

Homeless Irish mum Erica

Fleming makes heartfelt plea to
Minister Leo Varadkar to save
college dreams
8 AUG 2016

The brave mum and her daughter Emily

have been living in a Dublin hotel for over a
Homeless mum Erica Fleming has made an emotional
appeal to Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar to save
her dream of attending Trinity College.
The Dublin mum and her 10-year-old daughter Emily have

been living in a hotel for over a year.

Brave Erica dreams of improving her learning ability - and
had applied to Trinity Access Programme (TAP) with the
hope of qualifying with a degree.
But her spot on the programme was cruelly taken away
last week, when she was informed her Back to
Education Allowance (BTEA) application was denied,
reports Dublin Live.
Erica told Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio One: "When I
applied I just never thought I would get to go to Trinity
College .
"Not someone like me anyway, from a working class area
that is a lone parent and doesn't have the financial
assistance that's needed to go to Trinity College.
"I was absolutely thrilled, it was one of the happiest times
that I've ever had, Emily was just so proud that I was
getting to go.
"I had always said to Emily that she would get to go and I
would make that dream happen for her, but for it to happen
to me was overwhelming."

Erica Fleming

Government pledges 5.35 billion to build 47,000 new

social houses by 2021
Before Joan Burton's 'activation' changes to lone parents
in July 2015, Erica would have been entitled to change
from One Parent Family Allowance to BTEA.
And refusing to give up on her dream, the emotional mum
has called on Leo Varadkar to financially assist her and
other lone parents so they can attend third level education.
She added: "I'd really hope that Leo Varadkar would look
at this and think 'this is wrong, we are trying to motivate
lone parents, we are trying to get them out of poverty, and
education is key isn't it?'
"I'm asking him to look at the policy that was brought in
last year to prevent lone parents from going to third level
"I'm asking him to change it for everybody, not just for me,
to see the logic in sending us back to third level education.

To give us that opportunity to prove that we can get out

of poverty, and I'm asking him to do that today."
But Minister Varadkar would need to make a quick
decision to allow Erica to begin college next month,
otherwise the heartbroken mum feels her "dream is
She continued: "I feel a bit hopeless at the moment, I
just can't see how I'm going to get there. We're here (in
the hotel) nearly 14 months and between this and the
college thing it's taken its toll.
SPARK (Single Parents Acting for the Rights of Kids) have
long argued that these reforms only affect lone parents in
employment or education.
Erica lost her One Parent Family payment last year, and
transferred to the Family Income Supplement.
The Department of Social Protection confirmed that if she
stopped working and transferred to Job Seekers Transition
payment for nine months, she would qualify for BTEA next
Erica said: "I've always worked but struggle to pay for
things on one income.
"I want to educate myself and be a role model for my
daughter Emily and to stop needing Social Welfare.

homelessness is out of control.

Jun 23rd 2016

A young woman and her baby were brought to a hostel in

Dublin by a rough sleepers team after being unable to get
emergency accommodation.
Speaking in the Dil today, Sinn Fins Mary Lou McDonald
said the woman, her partner and their four-month-old
daughter presented as homeless to their local council on
Tuesday, but did not receive a place to stay.
The council refused to accept she genuinely was in need
of emergency accommodation and she was turned away.
At 4.30pm that afternoon she rang the freephone number
but no emergency accommodation was available.
At 9pm that evening, she again rang only to be told there
still was no emergency accommodation.
Eventually, at 12.30am, while standing outside Heuston
Station shivering and holding her infant child, she was
collected by the rough sleepers team and brought to a
McDonald said the woman and her family were one of 10
families turned away from local authorities on Tuesday
who were later accommodated through the rough sleepers
"The reason families are being turned away from the local
authorities is because there is not enough emergency
accommodation and staff members in local authorities are
being asked to make an impossible choice between
families, that is, between those who will have a bed and
those who are sent back out onto the street."

The council refused to accept she genuinely was in need of

emergency accommodation and she was turned away. At
4.30pm that afternoon she rang the freephone number but
no emergency accommodation was available.
At 9pm that evening, she again rang only to be told there
still was no emergency accommodation.
Eventually, at 12.30am, while standing outside Heuston
Station shivering and holding her infant child, she was
collected by the rough sleepers team and brought to a
McDonald said the woman, identified as ine, and her
family were one of 10 families turned away from local
authorities on Tuesday who were later accommodated
through the rough sleepers team.

Sinn Fins deputy leader said ine returned to her local

council the next day, only to be turned away again, adding:
She eventually was accommodated through the freephone
service at 8pm.
As I speak, this young woman yet again is on her way
back to her local authority not knowing where she and her
family will sleep tonight.
The reason families are being turned away from the local
authorities is because there is not enough emergency
accommodation and staff members in local authorities are
being asked to make an impossible choice between
families, that is, between those who will have a bed and
those who are sent back out onto the street.
McDonald said homelessness is out of control, but
emphasised this was not the fault of the Dublin Region
Homeless Executive or local councils.
Urgent action
In response, Tnaiste Frances Fitzgerald said: It is not
tolerable that in Ireland today families and children such
as ines are living in emergency accommodation or are
having difficulty accessing such accommodation.
That is why this issue is a priority for the government.
That is why the housing committee was established before
all others and it did its work and made its report.
We are all extremely conscious of the legacy of the housing
bust and we need to work every day to remedy it and
especially to work directly to ensure that families are not
left in the situation the deputy describes.
Fitzgerald said many of the problems stem from the
chronic lack of supply of housing, which is causing knockon problems for everyone renters, first-time buyers and
low-income households.
Every possible action is being taken in the most speedy
manner to ensure that families will get the housing they
The Tnaiste noted that the housing committee has
identified a range of initiatives to which Housing Minister
Simon Coveney will respond urgently.

The governments new housing and homelessness strategy

is due to be launched next month.
Mr Allen said while the Action Plan for Housing and
Homelessness, which aims to build 47,000 social
houses by 2021, gives some direction, there are real
concerns the Government has a broad framework
rather than a detailed plan of action.
He explained: It is shocking to think we now have a
record number of 2,020 children in emergency
accommodation a lot of whom will be back at school
in the coming weeks and trying to cope with the stress
of being homeless.
At present, the only real response to these families is
the promise of better emergency accommodation in
rapid-build housing. These families will welcome better
emergency accommodation but deserve a more
detailed plan from the Government setting out
solutions to the fact theyve no long-term home.
A large number of these will cost money and the level
of funding will depend upon the 2017 Budget.
In this context the report is timely but the actual
costing of these initiatives and how they will be
progressed in the budget process needs to be clearer.
A spokesman for the Dublin Simon Community said the
rise in families becoming homeless highlights the
urgent need for the implementation the Action Plan.
November 28, 16