Unfortunately, homelessness still dominates the news pages of most newspapers, and Dublin Gazette this week features a diverse range of stories related to the scourge of homelessness.
Even Pope Francis is getting in on the act, although he is blissfully unaware that his visit to the capital next month is set to have repercussions for those without homes.
It appears that some homeless families face being moved out of Dublin, due to demand for hotel rooms during peak tourist months, especially with the visit of the Pope next month.
An influx of tourists to the city is expected to see demand for hotel rooms rise sharply, as more than 600,000 people are due to attend events when the Pope visits the capital.
Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) says it will pursue all alternatives for emergency accommodation, as the pressure on space mounts at this time of year.
A spokeswoman for the DRHE said: “We do not expect the visit to affect families already in hotels, but did not rule out it affecting those presenting as newly homeless.
“Hotels outside the capital may have to be used in such situations – but it’s up to homeless families to find accommodation, which the DRHE will then pay for.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fail general election candidate in Dublin Central, Mary Fitzpatrick, has said that a different approach is needed in identifying properties suitable to be added to the Derelict Sites Register in Dublin Central, in order for them to be put to use quicker.
Her comments follow confirmation from Dublin City Council (DCC) this month, that numbers 19 and 21 Connaught Street, Dublin 7 have been re-inspected and entered on the Derelict Sites Register. These two Connaught Street properties took seven years to be added to the DCC register.
Fitzpatrick said: “While the council say that they prioritise reinstatement of derelict sites back on to the housing market, it’s simply not happening at any pace.
“It’s no secret that there is a housing crisis in our city that’s worsening by the day, and yet the local authority sit on these houses when, if action was taken, they could help alleviate the acute shortage of residential homes.
“It took seven years for both of these properties on Connaught Street to finally be added to the register – are those living in the community, or those desperately waiting for a home in Dublin Central, expected to wait another seven years for development to begin?
“It’s frustrating to think that there is no plan in place to give these derelict sites new life,” she said
Finally, Dublin Bay North TD, Tommy Broughan (Ind) has blasted the Government’s record on child homelessness.
During Statements on Child Homelessness, he highlighted his concern at the inappropriate accommodating of homeless children in hotel rooms and B&Bs, and at the lack of action by the Government in tackling the crisis.
He said: “The most recent figures made available show that numbers jumped dramatically to 1,724 homeless families, with 3,826 homeless children – up again from 1,712 homeless families, with 3,689 homeless children, at the end of April.”
He asked whether the Government has availed of EU supports through the Social Investment Package to help address the crisis.
“I took the opportunity to acknowledge the tireless work of the volunteers behind the #MyNameIs campaign, Mick Caul, Erica Fleming and others; Anthony Flynn and the team in Inner City Helping Homeless; the work of the agencies working with, and advocating for, homeless children and families.
“I also thank the volunteers behind the North Dublin Bay Housing Crisis Committee, who work very hard to have fun family days out at Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc, in my own constituency of Dublin Bay North.
“[I also want to thank] the teachers who are trying to support children in their learning while also being understanding to their awful living situations and, of course, to acknowledge the families and children waiting to be housed,” said Deputy Broughan.