Government to investigate reasons for high number of homeless deaths in 2020

Government to investigate reasons for high number of homeless deaths in 2020

THE GOVERNMENT is to investigate the significant rise in deaths of homeless people this year.

The Department of Housing will investigate the reasons for the higher-than-normal amount of deaths of homeless people in Dublin after the issue was raised in the Dáil yesterday, RTÉ News reports.

Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien confirmed he would order his department to examine the rise in deaths after Aontú leader Peader Tobín stated that 50 homeless people had died in Dublin this year, compared to 34 people in 2019 and 35 in 2018.

Speaking in the Dáil, Minister O'Brien said "each death is too many," and said he did not think it was the case that homeless services were not being provided, but it was something his department would look at.

Speaking at the launch of homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust's 2019 annual report, CEO Pat Doyle said there had been increases in stress which had detrimental effects on mental health due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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This extra pressure on peoples' mental health is leading to an increase in drug addiction and overdoses, Mr Doyle warned.

"The number is absolutely up, and I think it's up in mental health and addiction, and that reflects what's going on in wider society as well," the CEO said.

The CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) Cllr Anthony Flynn has previously warned that homeless deaths will "skyrocket" in the winter months if something is not done soon, and revealed the charity are engaging with up to 165 people a night.

Speaking to in September, Mr Flynn went on to say that this number is unprecedented, as the charity usually engages with around 130 people at this time of year.

The lack of social distancing available in homeless hostels and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led to more people taking to the streets and sleeping rough in tents, he said.