Homeless man found dead in Ranelagh was on priority housing list
Irish man in his late 50s one of two rough-sleepers in Dublin who died this week
A homeless person taking shelter at the Four Courts in Dublin on Wednesday. A Lithuanian national in his 30s died at the Four Courts on Monday night. Photograph: Collins
A homeless man in his late 50s, who died while sleeping rough on Tuesday, was on a “priority” list to be housed but could not be due to a lack of one-bed dwellings.
The Irish national was one of two “rough-sleepers” who died in Dublin this week. The second man, a Lithuanian national in his late 30s who had been sleeping rough at the Four Courts, died on Monday night.
The first man, aged “about 58”, had for a few weeks been sleeping in a tent behind a hedge in Ranelagh, near the entrance to the prestigious boys’ secondary school Gonzaga College, sources say. His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file is being prepared for the coroner.
It is not known whether the man’s death was related to the low temperatures (3 degrees) recorded between Monday night and Tuesday.
The second man, who had been engaging with homeless services since 2010, was found unresponsive at about 8pm on Monday. He was brought to the Mater hospital where he was pronounced dead. Initial indications are that he may have died of a drug overdose.
Both men had been engaging with homeless services. The older man, according to a spokesman for the Peter McVerry Trust homelessness charity, was “on the radar as particularly vulnerable and was a priority to be housed under the Housing First programme”.
Under Housing First chronic rough-sleepers are placed directly into housing, with “wrap-around” services such as psychological supports and help with running a home, bypassing the interim “staircase” of emergency hostels and supported shelters.
“He was one of about 10 older rough-sleepers in Dublin at the moment,” said the spokesman. “All these men would be on the priority list for Housing First but the lack of suitable accommodation means we aren’t able to move people into housing as fast as we would like.
“There will be an intensive effort now to get these men into emergency beds.”
He said the trust was “deeply saddened” by the news and that there had been an unprecedented seven death involving people sleeping rough in the past 12 weeks.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive said it was “fully cognisant of the potential impact” of severe weather on people who are sleeping rough and that every possible effort is being made to ensure there is enough emergency accommodation and that no person is forced to sleep rough.
“Capacity is currently being expanded by over 200 new permanent bed spaces with an additional 50 temporary bed spaces available for the winter period,” a spokeswoman said.
Anthony Flynn, director of the Inner City Helping Homeless organisation, said volunteers with the nightly outreach teams were “under pressure” in recent weeks as the number of rough-sleepers reached record highs.
“It’s an indictment. There’s been an over-concentration on the fact there may be an election over the weekend. The finger has gone off the pulse in every Government department for the past week. This death should not have happened.”