Purging tents may disappear homeless people from the streets, but it does nothing to address the underlying problem
The proliferation of tents in Dublin is not a sign of the city’s “edginess”, but a sign of the government’s failure to tackle our housing and homelessness crises, according to Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan.
“Speaking on Newstalk radio, Dublin City Council CEO Owen Keegan said the proliferation of homeless people sleeping in tents added to a “perception of an edginess about the city”, which may deter people from shopping and socialising. He made his remarks in the context of a discussion about anti-social behaviour, having raised the issue of homelessness unprompted.
“The proliferation of tents in Dublin is not a sign of the city’s “edginess”, but a sign of the government’s failure to tackle our housing and homelessness crises. People sleeping in tents are not engaged in anti-social behaviour – they are desperately trying to survive in a city in which affordable housing options are almost non-existent.
“Purging tents from Dublin may disappear homeless people from the streets, but it does nothing to address the underlying problem. Further, people experiencing homelessness suffer enough stigma in our society, without needlessly linking this vulnerable cohort to assaults and anti-social behaviour.
“Mr Keegan suggested that people experiencing homelessness do not need to sleep on the streets as there are adequate hostel spaces available. He failed to mention the very serious problems that exist with standards in some privately-run emergency accommodation. A set of national standards (the National Quality Standards Framework) has applied to not-for-profit-run services since 2019, but these are not being adhered to by private operators. There is also a lack of appropriately trained support staff in these privately-run centres, which are funded by Dublin City Council.
“Perhaps if Mr Keegan spent more time trying to address standards in emergency accommodation, and less time bemoaning the unsightly appearance of tents on city streets, there would be fewer homeless people who feel sleeping rough is a preferable option to hostels.
`’Homelessness is a complex issue that has been hugely exacerbated by the country’s near decade-long housing crisis. A zero-tolerance approach to tents – a de facto ‘out of sight, out of mind’ policy – is not a credible solution and suggests a lack of empathy and understanding from those tasked with managing the issue.”
17 August, 2021