The hundreds of beds sourced across Dublin for homeless people are not being seen on the ground, a campaigner has claimed.
Anthony Flynn, the head of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), said there has been a massive increase in the number of homeless people leaving shared hostel accommodation over fears of becoming infected with coronavirus.
The Dublin councillor said that individuals are not able to self-isolate in hostels as up to six people could be sharing one room.
Up to 350 hotel rooms and living spaces were made available to Dublin’s homeless services over the last few weeks.
🏕️Number of rough sleepers not reducing, many choose return to street rather than overcrowded system.
🏕️Increase in number of people requesting tents.
🏕️Those in hostel facilities finding it hard to physically distance.
🏕️ 5 fold increase in demand for basic food provisions. pic.twitter.com/p9Qup9JgKt— Cllr. Anthony Flynn (@AnthonyICHH) March 31, 2020
The measures are part of the Government’s efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The homelessness campaigner has said that the number of rough sleepers has not reduced, as many have decided to sleep rough rather than overcrowd the system.
Mr Flynn said that today, ICHH served basic food provisions to more than 2,000 people while more than 300 hot meals were gone in 15 minutes last week.
He said: “There has been an increase in relation to the number of people who need assistance and in the number of people leaving hostels because the chances of self-isolating in hostels are slim.
“The hostels are overcrowded and we are now seeing this new wave of people coming into the homeless system in the last two weeks.
“People are afraid they will catch coronavirus in hostels.
Despite promises of extra beds and self isolation units there is still a lot of uncertainty on the streets as our teams are out nightly
We assisted 58 males and 22 females on outreach last night so the demand for support is there.March 31, 2020
“There were three new tents last night so we are not seeing what we are being told has been initiated, because there is a new wave of people in homeless services.”
Mr Flynn also said that prisoners freed on temporary release over coronavirus fears are ending up on the street.
The Irish Prison Service (IPS) released inmates to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Flynn added: “Prisoners have been told they are leaving prison because it is overcrowded. There are around two to three people in a cell, but in hostels you are sleeping up to six people in one room.
“It’s in complete disarray.
“People are working all hours to implement plans to keep people safe but the system is not working.
“There are facilities like those in City West Hotel where there are over 700 rooms available to people who need to self-isolate.
“People who are homeless and need to isolate need to use these rooms.
“There are already a number of homeless people who have to self-isolate and a number of others who have tested positive for the virus.
“We have been told there is now a one-tier health system but they are being treated differently. There are empty buildings and empty hotels around the city but people are still sleeping rough.”