Newstalk's on location reporter Henry McKean interviewed many homeless Dublin people yesterday. Common complaints were the scarcity of shelters and the lack of physical safety in shelters that force many homeless to prefer rough sleeping in the streets. As some of them pointed out,anyone could end up homeless due to physical and mental illness,addictions, lack of friends and relatives, and unemployment.
Given the government's massive tax increases,the Irish welfare state could easily prioritise good quality shelters for the homeless but it seems indifferent to their suffering or hopelessly inept. For example,the lack of physical safety in shelters could be dealt with by installing night vision cameras in the dormitories to identify perpetrators of criminal acts.Also,security could be provided by a security guard watching over dormitorys during 8 sleeping hours at a cost of say €15 an hour, €120 a night.
Given the constant threat to the health of the homeless,some US cities find it saves a lot of money to house them in cheap apartments compared to the costs of their hospitalisations from homelessness. Some joined up thinking is needed between the Irish councils, Social Welfare and the HSE on this issue.