Homeless numbers ‘extremely challenging’

A trust that supports homeless people has said the figures for those sleeping rough were disappointing and unacceptable.

“The figures clearly indicate that the homeless situation remains extremely challenging but it is a challenge that Peter McVerry Trust is determined to address,” chief executive Pat Doyle said.

“It is important to recognise that in order to tackle homelessness we need to work in partnership.”

The trust was responding to latest figures showing at least 139 people are sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin.

Dublin Region Homeless Executive said the number of homeless people sleeping outdoors soared on its winter counter night, from 94 in April.

The Cork Simon Community said the number of people sleeping rough in the city averaged eight per night in November, compared to six a night in April. The total sleeping rough in November was 33, compared to 22 in April.

The Dublin executive said about 80 new temporary beds are being opened across the city to meet demand.

The figures show 80% were men and 14% were women. The sex of 6% was unknown.

More than half were Irish and 87 had previously accessed homeless accommodation and received support. Seventeen were new to homeless services and no information was available for the remaining 35.

A quarter of the people were aged 18 to 30; 37 were aged 31 to 40, and 31 were aged 41 to 50. Twelve people were aged 51 to 60 and three were over 60. The age of the others was not known.

An estimated 5,000 people are homeless nationwide, with the majority in emergency accommodation.

The Peter McVerry Trust has increased bed capacity in recent weeks and now offers space for 265 people.

It has provided 10 new beds for homeless couples, and another 12 for young homeless people aged 18 to 26. The trust is aiming to increase its service to take in almost 300 people a night.

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