Review of previously undocumented homeless under way

Dublin Region Homeless Executive conducting an evaluation of all those who presented

A man camps out in the snow on O’Connell Street in Dublin on Friday during Storm Emma. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

A man camps out in the snow on O’Connell Street in Dublin on Friday during Storm Emma. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is conducting an evaluation of all those who presented to avail of its services over the weekend following reports many had not come to its attention previously.

At least 14 people slept rough in Dublin on Thursday night as the capital experienced its highest snowfalls in almost 40 years, but it’s believed that many individuals who had not previously availed of emergency accommodation presented to services.

A spokeswoman for the homeless executive said on Monday it was “currently doing an evaluation of everyone who came in that maybe weren’t known about that. We’re putting all the statistics together and getting a handle on it.”

She added: “It’s an in-depth analysis of the people who came in, whether we knew them before or whether they were on the system or not.”

The evaluation is expected to be complete in the coming days.

Homeless services in Dublin continued to visit people refusing to enter emergency accommodation on Friday, with a view to “sectioning” up to five people and taking them into hospital care under the Mental Health Act, 2001.

At least 14 people slept rough in Dublin on Thursday night. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images
At least 14 people slept rough in Dublin on Thursday night. Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

By Friday evening, however, it was decided not to section two of the individuals who had made adequate provision for their own warmth and safety. A third was thought to have returned to alternative accommodation while two remaining people, who had been in tents, could not be located by homeless services.

On Thursday two people – one man who was refusing to leave a park bench and all offers of blankets and hot water, and a woman who had been living in a wall cavity – were sectioned for their own safety.

Following queries from The Irish Times on Monday as to the whereabouts of these individuals, a spokeswoman for the HSE said it could not comment on individual cases or on cases where small numbers would deem people to be identifiable.

Campaigners last month called for an “urgent reassessment” of the Government’s housing policy following record numbers of homeless people in emergency accommodation in January.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy published figures which showed 5,837 adults and 3,267 “dependents” utilised State-funded emergency accommodation during the month.

The figures show that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless, which was an increase of 6 per cent from 8,587 in December last year.