Cian O'Callaghan TD

Tragically, there was an 80pc increase in the deaths of single homeless people in 2020

We need a sustained and co-ordinated effort to reduce the number of deaths of homeless people, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.

Deputy O’Callaghan was reacting to an interim report by Dr Austin O’Carroll, Mortality in Single Homeless Population 2020, which was published today and revealed an 80pc increase in the number of deaths of single homeless people.

“Tragically, we have seen an 80pc increase in the number of deaths of single people experiencing homelessness in 2020 when compared to 2019. The median age of the people who died was just 46 for men and 33 for women.

“Reducing the number of deaths people experiencing homelessness requires a multifaceted approach. In Boston, a multi-agency task force was set up in response to reduce homeless deaths. We should take a similar approach. We need all partners working together on this issue. This includes the HSE, NGOs, Doctors, An Gardai, City Council, Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, homeless advocates, Department of Social Protection and others.

“It is disappointing that, when compiling this report, there has been no interaction with people working in homeless services to get their insights and to learn from potential failings.

“When someone dies while rough sleeping, we need to stop and ask how future deaths like this can be prevented. That is why we need safeguarding reviews, as happens in the UK.

“Dr O’Carroll’s report contains some important recommendations that the Government must act on swiftly. These include ensuring access to primary care services in private emergency accommodation; progressing supervised injecting centres and improving access to mental health treatment particularly for those with a dual diagnosis.”

2 June, 2021


Back to all Posts