Up to 10 new people a day seek Dublin Simon's help
EIGHT TO 10 new people are approaching the Simon Community to access homeless services every day in Dublin, the charity has said.
Overall numbers of people sleeping rough in the capital had risen by 25 per cent in April this year compared to the same period last year, according to Dublin Simon Community’s latest annual review, being published today.
According to the charity, almost 2,700 people accessed its services in 2011 and there are now more than 1,500 people in temporary emergency accommodation on a nightly basis in the capital.
The official “rough sleeper count” undertaken by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive in April 2011 found 60 people bedded down on the streets compared to 73 in April 2012. However, the Dublin Simon Community said this should be regarded as a minimum number, as it did not take into account people sleeping in squats, “couch surfing” in other people’s homes or sleeping in parks.
The charity said it had launched a development fund of €5 million to address the problem of permanent accommodation for those who are homeless. The fund aims to increase Simon’s “fit for purpose” accommodation, which includes case working and reducing the reliance on short-term, emergency accommodation.
Reducing the reliance on such accommodation and operating a housing-led model, with appropriate supports, helped ensure people did not return to homelessness, it said.
The charity said the housing-led model meant it was able to provide suitable “move-on” housing options to prevent people from being “stacked up in emergency accommodation” because there was nowhere else for them to go.
Dublin Simon chief executive Sam McGuinness called for all temporary accommodation for the homeless to be fit for purpose, with 24-hour access and professional onsite help, including case management.
Ahead of the annual review’s publication this afternoon by Lord Mayor of Dublin Naoise Ó Muirí, Mr McGuinness warned many homeless people were now living in fear of becoming “trapped and institutionalised in homelessness” because of a lack of options outside short term emergency care.
He said it was “vital” the charity was focused on and able to provide move-on housing options and was committed to sourcing fit-for-purpose properties across Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare.
“Accommodation needs must be met for people to live independently and integrate into their communities in a supported environment with trained, experienced staff, thereby decreasing the incidences of homelessness,” he said.
Simon said the typical perception of homelessness was changing as “people realise that homelessness is something that could now happen to any one of us”.
BY THE NUMBERS
Almost 2,700 people accessed the charity’s services in 2011.
Between eight and 10 new people are seeking homeless services every day from the charity in the Dublin area.
Overall numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets of the capital rose by 25 per cent in April this year compared to the same period last year.
In 2011, some 123 people supported by Simon’s housing and independent living programme moved from homelessness into permanent accommodation and independent living.
Almost 400 people accessed Dublin Simon’s residential detox/rehab/aftercare service.