Tackling the problem of homelessness


Sir, – In the 1960s, as a medical student, I studied psychiatry in Grangegorman (St Brendan’s). There were probably a thousand beds, and most of the inmates were young men of similar disposition to the young adults males that are sitting begging on the streets of Dublin today.

The perceived wisdom at the time was that most if not all of the inmates would and could be better cared for within society, and the authorities closed the hospital. Needless to say the arrangements for sheltered care, and so on, were non-existent. That was the start of the homeless crisis which has evolved over the years and has been compounded by the addiction problem.

There is no mystery about the homelessness crisis, and it can only be resolved by providing sheltered accommodation, with all the necessary psychiatric and social back-up required. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – Let’s all make a resolution for 2017 to be effective in our management of the homelessness crisis. There are many empty properties around the country, mostly owned by individuals, with some owned by banks following repossession. Neither these individuals nor these banks have the desire or the confidence in this “anti-landlord” climate to take on the hassles and risks involved in renting out their properties to the homeless. If the Government stepped in with certain assurances for landlords, such as guaranteed rental income, compensation for property damage and a tax incentive, then I feel sure that property owners would reciprocate by making their properties available.

We need houses, so we must make it attractive for the houseowners to rent them to us. I recall correspondence to The Irish Times several months ago in which a reader wrote that his investment property lay empty as the poor income after taxes and expenses was not worth the hassle of having tenants. With Government action, I feel sure that landlords would respond appropriately. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.