Dublin Simon Community welcomes the drop in Dublin emergency accommodation but highlights the continuing lack of move-on options for single adults in emergency accommodation
As the Government releases the May 2021 Homeless Report, homeless and housing charity Dublin Simon is sounding the alarm on the duration of time spent by single adults in emergency accommodation, with figures showing that 67% of single homeless adults in Dublin are now spending over six months in emergency housing situations which the charity deem “inappropriate” for longer term stays.
The May 2021 Homeless Report, released today by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage revealed there were 5,713 people in Dublin emergency accommodation, an 8% decrease on May 2020. The May 2021 figures include 4,054 total adults, 688 families, 3,029 singles and 1,659 children.
Dublin Simon Community provides six supported temporary accommodation services in partnership with Local Authorities across Dublin, Wicklow and Louth which provide 24-hour shelter, meals, wraparound services and vital one-to-one key-working support to empower people experiencing homelessness to move on to a place that they can call home.
While emergency accommodation is a vital “triage” point in exiting homelessness, the Manager of Dublin Simon’s Longfields Emergency Service James Hinchon says people are staying in these facilities for far longer than the recommended six-month period due to a lack of viable move-on options, particularly for single people.
“Emergency accommodation is intended for exactly that – emergencies. It is not a home. Sharing rooms, living spaces with 20 or 30 people is not the long-term goal, and studies have shown that the longer people spend in these places, the greater the risk to their health and future. Feelings of detachment and isolation are strong, especially now in a pandemic environment when people do not have the same flexibility to connect with friends and family.”
“We work with our clients on their independent living skills to prepare them for tenancies, but the risk of institutionalisation is still huge. We see physical and mental health decline and people’s addictions can become worse the longer they are in that stressful situation. If individuals were moved quickly from homelessness into their own home the trauma of the experience would be lessened and their support needs in the long-term would be reduced.”
While the organisation has successfully moved almost double the number of clients out of emergency accommodation and into longer-term homes this past year due to the availability of local authority stock, AirBnb and other properties, the resumption of tourism will lead to some of this pool effectively drying up. Supply is of primary concern, says Hinchon.
“Supply of social and affordable housing, particularly one-bed units for single people remains the primary issue. As people enter emergency accommodation, a vital triage point in exiting homelessness, they are met with a huge systemic bottleneck. This lack of progress is incredibly frustrating and disheartening for people, whose hope of moving into a place of their own grows further and further out of reach.”