[Hpn] Homeless prefer street to shelter 7-to-1 in Dublin, Ireland (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 4 Jan 2001 13:01:02 -0800 (PST)

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/ireland/2000/1230/hom8.htm FWD Irish Times - Saturday, December 30, 2000 MANY HOMELESS OPT TO STAY ON STREETS By Paul Cullen In spite of plunging night temperatures, many homeless people are opting to stay sleeping on the streets. Voluntary agencies and local authorities report a low take-up for emergency hostel accommodation. On Thursday night, when temperatures in Dublin fell to minus 7 degrees, only one person was staying in new accommodation run by the South Western Area Health Board in the former Meath hospital. On the same night, Dublin Corporation's new outreach service made contact with 17 homeless around the city, but 15 refused the bed space offered. The corporation's minibus, which tours the city until 2.30 a.m., has so far failed to lure people away from sleeping rough. On the first night of the service, before Christmas, only one out of 25 people approached by the bus availed of a lift to a hostel. Even on Christmas night the take-up was four out of 17 people visited. "There are various reasons why people choose to sleep rough. Some fear for their safety in hostels. Others lead totally chaotic lives and steer clear of them," said the corporation's housing officer, Mr Brendan Kenny. Ironically, up to 10 people are sleeping rough outside the corporation's headquarters on Wood Quay. Another large group of young homeless sleep nightly in front of a disused church on Arran Quay. While acknowledging the low take-up of hostel space, voluntary groups have criticised the lack of provision for homeless people during emergencies such as the present cold snap. The Simon Community described as "lamentable" the corporation's strategy for providing accommodation for the homeless during severe winter weather. Mr Emmet Bergin of Simon said the corporation's additional winter accommodation was understaffed and did not provide enough places. Mr Ivan Mahony of Focus Ireland's Off the Streets initiative said the provision of additional winter places for the homeless was "quite poor". Focus, in common with other agencies, has been providing those sleeping rough with blankets or sleeping bags. "I'm happy if people don't die. It comes down to that sometimes," Mr Mahony said. This winter the corporation secured 60 additional places at a privately owned hostel in Charlemont Street. Mr Kenny said he was "scouring the city" for new premises to buy, but so far to no avail. Traditionally, the problem of homelessness eases at Christmas as some homeless people return to their families. Meanwhile, Age Action Ireland has called on people to check on the well-being of elderly neighbours or relatives who are living alone. END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** ************************************************************ 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ************************************************************