Homelessness campaigner Brother Kevin Crowley has warned we may be facing “more deaths” on our streets this winter if the escalating crisis isn’t addressed.
Brother Kevin, manager of the Capuchin Day Centre in the capital which feeds as many as 600 people on a daily basis, said there has been a massive increase in the number of families that have come to his door.
He believes the “onus” of addressing the issue now lies with Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Environment Minister Alan Kelly. His comments come after Mr Kelly yesterday pledged to “move heaven and earth” to make sure nobody is forced to sleep rough.
“This is the worst I have ever experienced. My fear is that if this continues coming up to winter, we are going to have more deaths on the street. Hotel accommodation is not the answer,” Brother Kevin said last night.
Focus Ireland also revealed they have experienced a record number of families seeking their help in July, after receiving 77 referrals. So far this year, they have had 466 families referred to them, just shy of the 485 they worked with in all of 2014.
A family with three children was discovered sleeping rough in a Dublin park earlier this week.
Mr Kelly yesterday said “the cooperation of the local authorities” is needed to address the homeless crisis.
“If there is extra funding required I will supply it. It is about making sure that all the organisations that are working in homelessness are working together,” he said.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, meanwhile, reiterated his remarks that B&Bs and hotel accommodation are “not suitable” as long-term solutions for families.
He said the Government was committing to addressing the longer term problem by supplying more housing, saying that will come in three different forms: refurbishment of empty units, implementation of the social housing programme and through the private construction sector.
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) said they are currently dealing with an “unprecedented” demand for their services. The number of adults and their dependants who are homeless has almost doubled since last July, according to the DRHE. They said that between April and June of this year, 1,975 adults were accommodated on a nightly basis.
556 of these were families accompanied by 1,185 children.