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Homelessness is not just for Christmas…


Homelessness is not just for Christmas…

In my time as a journalist I have always had an interest in the subject of homelessness.  I have had the pleasure to have interviewed some people in authority on the subject in the city over that time, people such as Mary Hayes, who works for the Dublin City Council. Mary manages three homeless hostels. She has been working for some time now on the issue of homelessness and believes very strongly helping those in such an awful situation. Another I interviewed needs no introduction, is Fr Peter Mc Verry, a man who operates his own charity to help people facing homelessness, the Peter Mc Verry Trust. You can read both interviews by clicking on these links (Mary Hayes    Peter Mc Verry). The question that I always finished these interviews with was did these people in authority ever see a time where we could affectively end homelessness

When 42 year old, Jonathan Corrie who was found dead in a doorway at the start of December, it sent shockwaves and anger towards the Irish government, it seemed that finally, the ever prevalent issue of homelessness was once again in the media’s view. Mr Corrie’s death seemed to get the government wheel in motion, which in my view I think it is very sad that another life was lost for our government to act on this issue that has been around since day one.  However, TDs and ministers were quick to say they would now deal with this issue head on, there would be no delay.

Despite, these mutterings that something would be done, this government and local government has presided over number of homeless policy mistakes that may have avoided the lonely end of Mr Corrie on Molesworth Street.  Policies such as resettlement, which saw people, who are long term homeless, being resettled in apartments, as part of long term plan of adjustment with the aid of care worker.  This policy’s funding has been made inadequate to meet the homeless needs of the State.  In addition, the Night Bus service was also scrapped. The role of this service was to collect clients who had previously rang the HSE looking for emergency accommodation.  The idea being that it would keep those sleeping on the streets to a minimal, while trying to keep some record of the numbers of people who were sleeping rough.  These are just examples of services, which have now ceased or have been crucially undermined.

Peter Mc Verry believed that this is nothing new, previous governments with more to spend also ignored the homeless issue in our State.  Different governments of the day have had an opportunity to fix the homeless problem but have chosen to ignore it. And therein lies the issue, the big issue has it were.  In the end, people like those two men who died while sleeping out in Bray last year or the couple who drowned while sleeping rough in Drimnagh two years ago or Mr Corrie will always be with us, so long as there is no political will to change things. 

The answer to my last question with those interviewees is sad but true, we can never hope of change unless there is political will to do it.

I would just like to say homelessness is not just for Christmas.

One Response

  1. Lisa Whittaker says:

    Well Said Alan Finn & So True. Its So Shocking & Sad that Homelessness is Still a Big Issue in Todays World. I Deal With People Who Are Homeless & Sleep in Bin Chutes. These People Are Not In Good Health & Some Have Mental Illnesses. Fair Play on You Writing the Shocking Truth that the MPs, TDs & Governments want To Hide From. Great Article, Yet Again…..

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