Call for more investment in emergency sheltered accommodation

Alice Leahy, Director & Co-Founder of TRUST, the social and health service for people who are homeless called for the urgent provision of more emergency sheltered accommodation following the tragic death of a homeless man in a skip in Limerick.

While not wishing to comment in detail about that appalling tragedy while an investigation is continuing, Alice Leahy said that a similar incident was reported in the media only a few weeks ago, and only made a paragraph or two, because fortunately the driver of the truck that came to collect the skip noticed there was a person who is homeless taking shelter in it.

“The failure to provide adequate emergency sheltered accommodation means that the most vulnerable, and totally excluded, in Irish society must seek accommodation wherever they can find it. Even if the people who find themselves in that position do not make the headlines in the tragic way that we have just witnessed in Limerick, we have no excuse, at a time of great prosperity, in failing to address the accommodation needs of society’s true outsiders,” Alice Leahy said.

Alice Leahy described the failure to address the issue of emergency accommodation as a complete abdication of responsibility on the part of those responsible for the state’s homeless services.

“It has become almost unfashionable to advocate for emergency accommodation because those in charge seem not to understand the nature of homelessness, especially of the kind that finds people living on the streets. Instead the emphasis is totally on transitional housing and long-term solutions but fails to properly acknowledge that homelessness is not the same as “houseless ness”. In other words, it is not just about not having accommodation. People who end up on the street do so for many reasons and often have great difficulty fitting in or even facing the prospect of filling in a form. The failure to provide adequate emergency accommodation means that the outsiders in our society will continue to face appalling, and even outrageously dangerous conditions on the streets unless this issue is addressed,” Alice Leady said.