Sleeping rough in Dublin

Dublin Region Homeless Consultative Forum

Notes Number of People Sleeping Rough in Dublin in November 2012 at 87 Persons

The Dublin Region Homeless Consultative Forum notes that there were a minimum of 87 persons confirmed to be sleeping rough on the night of the most recent count held in November 2012.

Since 2009, figures provided have included self-reported rough sleepers using a voluntary breakfast service on the morning following the rough sleeper count. This is done so that persons presenting to this early morning service who may not have been counted on the night of the street count can be identified. A process of reconciliation is then undertaken to confirm and remove duplication for persons included in the street count. Upon agreement, the balance is then added to the overall rough sleeper count figure. On the morning of the November 2012 count, the breakfast service was unable to provide this report and no reconciliation was possible. For the previous 6 counts over the last four years, an average of 14 persons were added to the final overall figure.

Characteristics of Rough Sleepers

This winter count found people identified as sleeping rough were:

·         Male (68)

·         Female (10)

·         Unknown (9).

The breakdown of nationality was as follows:

·         Irish nationals (44)

·         Non-Irish nationals (9)

·         Unknown (34).

It is important to note that there has been a decrease in the number of non-Irish persons sleeping rough. This has been through the various inter-sectoral programmes designed to meet the needs of homeless migrants.

Why do the Rough Sleeper Count?

The street count is a way of confirming a minimum number of people sleeping rough on the night in question in the Dublin region and assists us in measuring the effectiveness of the regional strategy in addition to planning for services.

We recognise that a single count only tells part of the picture; rough sleeping is a dynamic situation whereby people can spend long periods sleeping rough or on a sporadic basis. Government policy is a housing led response to homelessness and we are continuing to concentrate our efforts to eliminate rough sleeping through the Regional Contact and Outreach Team, Dublin Housing First Project and the Cold Weather Strategy.

Services for People who are Homeless and measures for the cold weather period/ bed capacity

The homeless sector is committed to providing temporary accommodation for people who are homeless and in particular, supported temporary accommodation on a 24 hour basis for persons needing intensive supports.

In addition to a range of day services being made available, the Regional Contact and Outreach Service (RCOS) will support and engage with all individuals that were confirmed to be sleeping rough on the night of the count and on a daily basis whereby links are made to the assessment and placement services in the Dublin Local Authorities. The service will contact those rough sleeping, as often as possible with the specific goal of moving people into accommodation through the Dublin City Council Central Placement Service (CPS) and Assessment and Placement Services across the Dublin region. Whilst in accommodation, staff will adopt a case management approach and engage with the person to identify supports that may need to be put in place and where the focus must be on resettlement of the individual or family household concerned.

It is important to note that during the cold weather period and in response to the count, we have added additional capacity in terms of emergency beds to be made available.  We are currently implementing a Cold Weather Strategy that provides an emergency humanitarian response to the needs of persons who may be sleeping rough. This ensures that rough sleepers have access to accommodation in cold weather so as to prevent death or significant harm which can result from extreme weather conditions. The Strategy also provides opportunities to end rough sleeping by promoting active engagement with rough sleepers to identify appropriate housing options. This initiative is managed and co-ordinated between homeless accommodation providers and Dublin City Council.

Housing with support is critical to resolving homelessness

The Dublin Homeless Consultative Forum is committed to National policy which is a housing led approach to resolving homelessness.  This requires commitment and continuing effort and investment by all partners to be in place to ensure the range of housing options for homeless people through social and co-operative housing in addition to utilising the Private Rented Sector.