‘Urgent action must be taken’ to help those sleeping rough

by Rachel Darcy

Following the airing of RTE Investigates: Stuck in the Rough on Monday night, a Dublin TD has called for urgent action to help the homeless.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD made the calls following the documentary, which focuses on the extremity of the situations faced by rough sleepers in Dublin City.

The documentary was praised on social media for its stark view on homelessness in the capital, and the failures of the system in some cases to assist those requiring help.

Speaking today, Teachta Ó Broin said: “The RTÉ Investigates: Stuck in the Rough programme on the plight of rough sleepers in Dublin City was hard to watch at times.

“The lives of those sleeping on the streets of our capital city are made harder with the barriers in place in terms of accessing emergency beds for those not deemed to ‘have a local connection’ to Dublin city.

“This is an issue I and others have raised with both the Minister for Housing and Dublin Region Homeless Executive. Despite the Minister’s assurances in early December that a local connection was not necessary to access a bed, this is clearly not the case in practice.

“Urgent action must be taken to both in terms of homeless prevention and to assist those who are currently sleeping rough.”

In the documentary, it was displayed numerous times that homeless services cannot help people if they are registered within other counties.

Inner City Helping Homeless said they would not be able to assist someone from Kildare, for example, where a man from Carlow was refused help in Dublin as he was registered in his home county.

Speaking on this, Teachta Ó Broin said: “The emergency freephone line must be reviewed and refusing people beds on local connection grounds must be ended in practice.

“It was galling to hear on the programme last night that there were 75 free beds in the city when a gentleman in his late 50’s from Carlow was refused a bed for the night.

“We desperately need a new strategy aimed at ending long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough.

“This strategy should include the funding and the targets for a dramatic increase in Housing First.

Eoin O’Broin TD

“It must include a plan for the phasing out of dormitory style emergency accommodation and there must be a greater provision of addiction and mental health supports.

“An independent, transparent inspection regime for all emergency accommodation providers, private and public, must be rolled out by HIQA.

“We must also see a great focus on homeless prevention, and we need to see an emergency response to the rising levels of homeless deaths.

“The Housing Committee is due to look at these issues next week and I have written to the Minister for Housing asking him to outline what action he will take to tackle the issues raised in the RTÉ Investigates programme.”

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