I want to strongly endorse Fr Peter McVerry’s letter of (February 10th, pointing to the serious shortage of emergency accommodation for homeless people.
This issue was also raised recently by Impact and Siptu, the trade unions representing community welfare officers, and we too have been saying the same for some time.
This should come as no surprise to anyone, as the composition of the homeless population has been changing and expanding at the same time. Figures are always difficult to compile as people on the street lead what are euphemistically described as “chaotic lifestyles”. But the fact is that many immigrants from EU accession states get into difficulties for a variety of reasons – like members of the indigenous population – and find themselves living on the streets. The evolving nature of homelessness in Dublin is not difficult to understand.
However, the Minister for Housing talked last week about ending homelessness in four years’ time. He was speaking at a conference at which the Homeless Agency had brought over President George Bush’s adviser on homelessness as one of the keynote speakers ( Irish Times, February 7th).
Seminars are good for sharing knowledge and helping to create awareness of new ideas but they cannot be allowed to become a substitute for action. The event in question, which I attended, did not adequately acknowledge the unique conditions that now apply in Dublin.
ALICE LEAHY, Director & Co-Founder, TRUST, Bride Road, Dublin 8.