Statement from Sam McGuinness, CEO of Dublin Simon Community, in response to the January 2022 Homeless Report, issued today by the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage:
“We are dismayed at the further rise in the number of people recorded in emergency accommodation in the January 2022 Homeless Report.
“For the last 8 months, numbers have been increasing at an alarming rate, undoing much of the progress made across the sector by all partners during the pandemic.
“Already in the midst of a housing crisis, the cost-of-living crisis is now dominating referrals to our prevention teams. There are elderly people wearing coats indoors to save on heating and young families attending soup kitchens to save on food. Rents are also increasing, causing major distress and bewilderment to people who have received valid notices of termination and cannot find anywhere to live within their budgets. When you’re fighting three crises at once – health, housing and cost of living, the term crisis begins to lose all meaning.
“For two years, throughout the whole pandemic, our staff teams have accompanied our clients through these challenges. As healthcare workers we are still working within tight covid restrictions keeping people safe both in services and supporting people in their own homes. Our staff place themselves at risk every day. Our teams work with people who are spending far too long in emergency accommodation due to an ongoing lack of housing supply, managing the increasing challenges for these clients. Now, cost-of-living has introduced another stressor for our clients and our staff as their front-line health care workers. It begs the question, “what next”, how much more can they take?”