Ciara Kenny

The Irish Times forum by and for Irish citizens living overseas,

Number of new homeless Irish in London increases

The number of new Irish rough sleepers in London increased by 84 per cent in 2011, according to a new report by Crosscare Migrant Project.

Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 13:05



The number of new Irish rough sleepers in London increased by 84 per cent in 2011, according to a new report by Crosscare Migrant Project.

Data compiled for Crosscare by the Combined Homeless Information Network (CHAIN), a database on homelessness in London, found the number of newly homeless Irish people sleeping on the streets jumped from 43 in 2010 to 79 in 2011.

Some 61 per cent (48) of those were aged between 36 and 55, with seven under 25. A total of 71 men and 8 women were recorded.

Of 16 UK care agencies surveyed, the majority of them Irish support organisations, 15 reported that Irish emigrants had sought their help over the past year, with eight saying there had been an increase in such demand by Irish emigrants over previous years.

Many of those who presented themselves to welfare services for the first time were dealing with unemployment, addiction, mental health problems and debt.

Crosscare policy officer Joe O’Brien said that although unemployment was commonly cited as the reason for departure from Ireland, the majority of people had other problems that were established before they left.

“They often have other very serious issues that they are struggling with and it is this additional burden that makes the migration process all the more difficult and risky,” he said.

“They are also the people most in need of information and support services pre and post departure.”

Mr O’Brien said the increase in the number of Irish people sleeping rough for the first time was a “worrying trend”.

“[It] needs to be brought to the attention of various social services in Ireland. They need to be aware of Crosscare Migrant Project’s pre-departure service and alerted to the possibility that their service users may emigrate in an unprepared manner,” he said.

A previous report by Crosscare found vulnerable Irish emigrants were at risk of homelessness and destitution because of a lack of awareness regarding entitlements to welfare support once they leave Ireland.

The report was launched at the opening of Crosscare’s new Wellington Street centre to support young adults who have left foster or residential care by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin yesterday. To download the full report, click here.

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