Home­less­ness a huge prob­lem in Wicklow

UR­GENT NEED FOR SUIT­ABLE AC­COM­MO­DA­TION

Bray People - - NEWS - ES­THER HAY­DEN

HOME­LESS­NESS is one of the big­gest chal­lenges fac­ing Wicklow County Coun­cil ac­cord­ing to mem­bers.

The is­sue came up for dis­cus­sion af­ter a progress report of the Re­gional Home­less­ness Ac­tion Plan 2010-2013 was cir­cu­lated to the mem­bers.

Speak­ing on Mon­day at the monthly coun­cil meet­ing Cllr. John Byrne ‘we have a se­ri­ous prob­lem of peo­ple be­ing home­less par­tic­u­larly in the town of Bray. A lot of work is be­ing done by vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions but we need to come up with some form of suit­able ac­com­mo­da­tion to deal with peo­ple who are home­less in Bray.

‘ This coun­cil has never faced up to this and we have a real prob­lem. I think we need a proper fa­cil­ity.

‘ I’d like to see who is go­ing to drive this. Will there be a lo­cal com­mit­tee.

‘I would say this is one of the big­gest prob­lems we have. We are deal­ing with the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple. Vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions are get­ting no fund­ing and are re­ly­ing on vol­un­tary do­na­tions.

‘ Th­ese are our peo­ple, Wicklow peo­ple, peo­ple who we went to school with, peo­ple we played foot­ball with, peo­ple from our par­ish who for some rea­son are liv­ing rough. We have a duty and an obli­ga­tion to do some­thing for them.’

Cllr. Nicky Kelly said ‘ vol­un­tary bod­ies are stretched to the hilt. Th­ese peo­ple who are the most vul­ner­a­ble will fall by the way side. We have seen a young man dy­ing on the streets in Bray re­cently, dy­ing in a door­way. We can’t ig­nore this. Peo­ple are dy­ing on the streets.’

Cllr. John Brady ‘we need real ac­tion on this. Home­less­ness comes in many facets. It’s not just peo­ple sleep­ing rough many fam­i­lies are sleep­ing on so­fas in other peo­ple’s houses too.’

He also asked about the fu­ture of the hos­tel in Bray on Brighton Ter­race which can sleep up to 18 men.

‘I heard this was clos­ing. It does need a lot of work and there is no case man­age­ment there. Who has re­spon­si­bil­ity for it, Bray Town Coun­cil or Wicklow County Coun­cil.’

Cllr. Jimmy O’Shaugh­nessy said ‘ one of the big­gest prob­lems we have is home­less­ness. The onus is on each and ev­ery one of us to do some­thing for th­ese peo­ple.’

He sug­gested Lotto fund­ing should be looked for to help fund home­less fa­cil­i­ties in the county say­ing ‘I think there was bet­ter ways of spend­ing money rather than on golf clubs’.

Cllr. Vin­cent Blake won­dered if Wicklow County Coun­cil kept some houses for emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Cllr. Pat Vance said the hous­ing lists in the county have never been as long. How­ever he said the pro­vi­sion of hous­ing for peo­ple who are home­less needs to be ‘ han­dled very del­i­cately’ not­ing that some peo­ple who are home­less ‘won’t go into hous­ing’.

He also said that case man­age­ment needs to be a pri­or­ity. ‘ It’s the eas­i­est thing in the world to build a hos­tel but we have to pro­vide on­go­ing ser­vices.’

The mem­bers were told that Bray Town Coun­cil has re­spon­si­bil­ity for Brighton Ter­race adding that nei­ther Brighton Ter­race nor the hos­tel in Rath­drum meet ‘cur­rent best prac­tice stan­dards in terms of prov­ing a ser­vice to peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing home­less­ness.’

A coun­cil of­fi­cial stressed that ‘Bray will have to have some sort of emer­gency home­less pro­vi­sion’.

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