Rising numbers of homeless living in tents in Dublin city centre
Dublin Region Homeless Executive: Vital that use of tents ‘does not become normalised’
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive said it is aware that larger encampments of people living in tents have given rise to public order concerns. File photograph: Getty Images
There has been a “visible increase” in the number of homeless people staying in tents in city centre and regional areas, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has said.
In a submission to An Garda Síochána Inspectorate Review of Public Order Policing at the end of last year, the organisation said it is important that the presence of tents “does not become normalised”.
The correspondence was released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act. The DRHE is provided by Dublin City Council as the lead statutory authority in response to homelessness in the capital, and co-ordinates and delivers homeless services across the local authorities.
“The DRHE strongly believes that there is no need for anyone who is homeless to live in a tent, nor does the DRHE provide funding to services that distributes tents to people who are homeless,” it said.
The executive said it would welcome the support of the Garda in ensuring that people they encounter who are living in tents “are encouraged to engage with homeless services”.
“The DRHE is aware that larger encampments of people living in tents have given rise to public order concerns,” it added.
“In cases where such encampments are targeted by An Garda Síochána, the role of the DRHE is to offer accommodation with supports to people who are homeless within those encampments.”
The executive said an outreach service it funds actively engages with people who are homeless and living in tents.
“The service assists them to move into temporary accommodation with supports and to look at their longer-term housing options to exit homelessness,” said a spokeswoman.
“As stated in the submission, we do not want persons sheltering in tents to become normalised and we’re working actively with our outreach service and Dublin City Council’s public domain unit to prevent this.”
Other issues raised by the executive in its submission to the Garda included street begging and protocol for extreme weather.
“An Garda Síochána is already aware that people engaged in street begging are not necessarily homeless, although there is clearly an overlap between these groups of people,” it said.
“It is therefore important that gardaí, when engaging with people who engaged in begging on the streets, seek to determine if the person is homeless and if they are already engaged with homeless services.
“If they are homeless and not engaged with a homeless service, then the most appropriate intervention is to make a referral to the housing first intake team.”
The latest homeless figures show 10,253 people, including 3,749 children, in emergency accommodation between May 20th and 26th.