Sir, – Daniel K O’Sullivan (Letters, November 11th) reminds us of how we continue to ignore that which is unacceptable to current thinking when discussing homelessness.

Working in the field of homelessness for years, I have seen politicians, ministers and expert groups come and go, and are we further removed now from understanding the complexities and obvious remedies than we ever were?
It is important to reflect at times on what was possible during that time with objectivity. Many people lived happy lives in bedsits including this writer.

More importantly many people who fitted the definition of homelessness at the time also lived happily in bedsits – cramped conditions by today’s standards. Homeless people we meet today include couples sleeping in fragile tents, with only a cuddle to keep warm as accommodation for couples is limited. Some people are fearful of hostel accommodation, despite of the hard work of staff. Hotel accommodation in some cases is no better than the bedsits we continue to dismiss. However, one clear difference is how much it is costing the taxpayer. The debate on homelessness needs to be much broader than just redefining homelessness. Definitions can limit discussion rather than enhance it. – Yours, etc,

Director of Services,
Alice Leahy Trust,
Dublin 8.