Homeless offered sleeping bags instead of housing in Dublin

Dublin City Council staff are offering homeless people sleeping bags instead of emergency accommodation.

Homeless offered sleeping bags instead of housing in Dublin

According to several homeless support groups Ireland’s emergency accommodation services are so sparse many are forced to sleep rough despite asking the council help.

Eoin Donegan from Lay Litigation Ireland said: “We’ve had about eight people in the last six weeks, all from different parts of the city, saying they’ve been offered sleeping bags instead of accommodation by Dub-lin City Council staff. Some cases involve couples who’ve been told to leave the children with relatives while they’re offered sleeping bags to sleep rough,” he said.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council confirmed that unprecedented demand for emergency services means the council are now offering sleeping bags in lieu of housing.

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“The Dublin local authority homeless services responsible for assessing the needs of families and placing them into emergency accommodation are managing an unprecedented demand for their services in the Dublin region.

“This is primarily as a result of people losing their accommodation in the private rented sector. During the third week of March [23 to 29], the four Dublin local authorities provided emergency accommodation for 411 families (including 911 child dependents).

“If the local authority are unable to provide emergency accommodation in every instance to adults, sleeping bags are provided.”

Housing action groups recently occupied council offices in Parkgate St after a pregnant woman and a single mother of two were told there was no place to house them.

Oisin Fagan from Help the Hidden Homeless said that the network of emergency housing options benefited hotels and not those in need of accommodation.

“Councils have the money to put people in temporary accommodation, the accommodation is available, but one of the main problems is it’s a voluntary system for the B&Bs and hotels.

“That means even when they’re not full they can just turn people down. Whenever there’s a concert, or during holidays, all these homeless families are just refused accommodation,” he said.

To qualify for emergency accommodation families must be declared homeless, leaving many with no alternative housing.

Mr Fagan said this process was putting extra pressure on emergency accommodation services.

“You have to be declared homeless to avail of emergency accommodation,” he said.

“We’ve seen a few cases where people know they’re going to be homeless in a few days, they go to emergency services, are sent away and told to come back when they’re actually homeless.”

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