Homeless agency defends removal of tents 

Homeless agency defends removal of tents 

Dublin Regional Homeless Executive said all of those whose tents were removed have been accommodated in emergency accommodation. File picture

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) said it had "constantly interacted" with homeless people whose tents were removed from Dublin city centre over the weekend.

A total of nine tents were removed from the city centre, eight of which were occupied, after a number of complaints from businesses in the area. 

The DRHE said the use of tents, particularly in the current cold weather, "is dangerous, unhygienic and a serious public health risk to both the occupants and, at times, to the general public" and said those in the tents were both at risk of assault or robbery and engaged in drug activity.

DRHE said all of those whose tents were removed have been accommodated in emergency accommodation, a spokesperson told the Irish Examiner.

"On Friday morning, staff from Dublin City Council and the DRHE, including the outreach team, assisted by the Garda Síochána, worked in a very sensitive way and with a clear focus on the needs of the occupants to remove the tents from this location and to provide much more suitable accommodation to the couple and individuals involved.

"There were nine tents in position at that stage, and one was unoccupied. The recent occupier of this tent is well known to our outreach service and the outreach team has kept his belongings safe and secure, he has access to emergency accommodation.

"Two of those present have two separate live housing tenancies so did not require an accommodation, another has an existing placement in emergency accommodation and the remaining six had left their placements in recent weeks. 

"All six were again given emergency accommodation and accepted such. Our outreach team assisted and supported all the individuals back either to their tenancies or into emergency accommodation."

Social Democrats TD for Dublin North Central Gary Gannon, however, said the issue was not a provision of accommodation, but rather the provision of accommodation which is deemed safe by users.

If a person is choosing to sleep in a tent, you have to ask what is motivating that person? It's either that there's no accommodation being offered or that there's a lack of safe accommodation. Many people don't feel safe and that's a failure on the council's behalf.

"I think it's an absence of an overall strategy. I can understand to a degree if people are getting on to the council complaining about the tents, but there is never a coordinated strategy, we just end up paying private companies to run hostels. 

"We should have a variety of social services in these places to deal with the people in a holistic way. But every year we're failing these people.

"Paying hostels for dorms is not a policy."

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