Belfast Telegraph

Government to open emergency beds as record number sleeping rough in Dublin

A record number of people have been found sleeping rough in Dublin.

The winter headcount found 184 people in parks, streets, doorways and shopfronts on November 7.

The unprecedented numbers were released as the government announced it would open another 200 emergency beds across the city by December 18.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: "No person should have to sleep on our streets or be without shelter at any time of the year."

The Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) said the previous record number for rough sleepers was 168 in the winter of 2014 and the new level is up from 161 in the spring and 142 last winter.

Mr Murphy, who opened a new homeless facility run by the Peter McVerry Trust on the Cabra Road in Dublin, said there should be enough beds across the city this winter to give everyone shelter who needs and wants it.

"Given the extreme cold weather expected over the coming days, arrangements are in place since last night with our partners like Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland to ensure that additional temporary shelter can be brought into use across a range of existing services and facilities for singles and couples on a temporary basis," he said.

In Cork another 25 temporary beds are in place, in Galway 34 and in Limerick another 10.

The rough sleeper count involves 50 teams being deployed across set geographic areas of the city and county. It includes staff from Phoenix Park and St Stephen's Green to ensure people in the parks are counted.

Depa ul Ireland offered 102 emergency beds this time last year and now has 198 beds and two emergency family rooms with demand constant and increasing.

Chief executive Kerry Anthony said the rough sleeper numbers are extremely worrying.

"Homelessness is a complex issue and needs a consistent, holistic approach," he said.

"While these rough sleeper figures are cause for concern, it is essential that we remain committed to Rebuilding Ireland and that policy makers take heed of the recommendations of voluntary organisations like Depaul in order to make progress."

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