Expert rejects claims of homelessness crisis

Claims that homelessness is at crisis point have been rejected by an expert in the field.

Eoin O’Sullivan of Trinity College Dublin, who has written extensively on the subject, said the target of caring for all homeless people by 2016 was achievable.

One step he said would help tackle the problem is better use of government money currently being spent by different State agencies. He said there was a perception that homelessness was an unmanageable crisis, but this was not the case.

Many claims about the level of homelessness, he said, were made around budget time by non-government organisations “trying to up the ante”.

A recent claim, that the figure of 150 people sleeping rough in Dublin was a historic high, was not correct, he said. “While it is still 150 people too many, exaggerating and saying it’s a historic high, negates the work that is being done.”

Fr Peter McVerry, who works with homeless young people in Dublin, has previously warned of a crisis of tsunami proportions.

Prof O’Sullivan, addressing a symposium in Limerick on social policy and homelessness, said: “I think there’s undoubtedly a housing issue, but whether that will translate into hundreds of thousands of people becoming homeless, I would be sceptical about that.

“I think there are pressures on the housing market, but there have been pressures before and it doesn’t always translate into huge numbers of homeless people.”

He said the target to end homelessness by 2016 is achievable. “Over the past 20 or 30 years, there have been a number of claims that homelessness was at a crisis level, or at an unprecedented level, and the evidence does not necessarily support that. I think the numbers of homeless people are, comparatively, relatively small and can be accommodated and it is a matter of working on that to accommodate those people.

“At the moment, there are about 2,500 people in emergency or transitional homeless accommodation. It is a matter of finding accommodation for 2,500 households, which isn’t an insurmountable task to do that.”


Related Articles

More in this Section

Probe into claim sexual harassment within Prison Service was covered up

‘Selfish drivers oblivious to huge devastation they could cause’, says bereaved Cork woman

Young man with autism admits sex assault of five-year-old girl

Cartel ‘running out of people to do their work’


Breaking Stories

Sinn Féin votes in favour of going into Government as junior party

Gardaí make one arrest in €25k drug seizure in Meath

Latest: Galway Councillor calls for investigation after 20 people trapped on big wheel for three hours

Mary Lou McDonald says Sinn Féin are 'ready' to go into power with another party

Lifestyle

John Wilson touring with music made with Rory Gallagher in Taste

The F word: Why are some women reluctant to call themselves feminists?

Ask Audrey: 'Come here, do posh girls fake orgasms?'

Music Man: Why singer Phil Coulter is still touring in his 70s

More From The Irish Examiner