By Ciara Tyrrell
The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) arranged for a full regional assessment of people sleeping rough in Dublin.
According to Lisa Harpur from the DRHE, “Over the week of October 25th to 31st October 2021, our outreach team, Dublin Outreach, provided by Dublin Simon Community, targeted the entire Dublin Region intensively to engage in a full county wide assessment of people sleeping rough. In advance of the count, we were in contact with the 4 Dublin Local Authorities to ensure that the teams were fully informed about any individuals who were known to be rough sleeping, particularly in isolated areas.”
A total of 94 individuals were met over the week, which is a 25% reduction on the 125 people that were rough sleeping in the April count in 2021. Eleven of the individuals found in the April count were also found in the October count.
Out of the 94 individuals found by the team, 82 were found to have active PASS records.
A PASS is the shared bed and case management tool used by homeless services which shows that these people have been assessed as homeless by a Local Authority.
The other 12 individuals were known by the Dublin Simon Outreach team.
There were 65 males and 17 females recorded out of the 82 individuals with PASS records. The youngest recorded individual was only 19 years of age according to Dublin City Councils media release, while the eldest individual was found to be 68 years of age. The majority of the count tended to be Irish, male, and aged between 26-45 years of age.
Back in April 2021, 110 people were recorded rough sleeping with 65 people having tents and 45 people who did not have tents. Although the number of PASS rough sleepers has decreased to 82 individuals this October it was discovered that 37 people were to have tents while 45 people were found without tents.
In October’s count, 83% of rough sleepers were Irish citizens, 10% had European citizenship, 4% had non-EU citizenship and 3% of the citizenship remained unknown.
Compared to April, the percentage of Irish citizens didn’t change from 83%, nor did the percentage of EU citizenship. Non-EU citizenship was down by a percent at 3% while the total of unknown citizenship stood at 4%.
During the week of the count, the team also kept count of the usage of emergency accommodation of the individuals. Twenty-nine people used the emergency accommodation on the night of engagement by the team.
Thirty-five people used the emergency accommodation over the assessment week and 43 of the individuals used the emergency accommodation within the 3-month period before the assessment week. Sixt-six people used the emergency any time prior to the assessment week.
Lisa Harpur said that the count takes place twice yearly and that last November (2020) the DRHE “began an alternative and more comprehensive approach over the course of 7 days and this is the method we will continue with. The next count will take place in Spring 2022.” Lisa also mentioned how “ultimately, we want people to be safe and come into shelter and stay in emergency accommodation and these counts give us the opportunity to engage further with individuals who are sleeping rough.
“It is very difficult to address underlying health and addiction needs unless services can engage with a person experiencing homelessness. The purpose of collecting this information is to best tailor our response to their needs.”