‘Dark statistics’ as number of deaths of homeless people continues to rise

Meath TD Peadar Tóibín said we need to do better by vulnerable people in our country. Photo: Frank McGrath

Gabija Gataveckaite

Homeless deaths have risen sharply in recent years with 70 deaths recorded so far this year.

The number of homeless people dying is rising steadily each year as homelessness figures exceed 10,000.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is aware of 47 people who died in 2018, which increased to 49 the following year.

This jumped to 76 in 2020 and 115 last year, with the highest numbers being recorded during the winter months.

So far, 70 deaths have been recorded in 2022 – 18 of these were people housed in short-term accommodation; 21 were in long-term accommodation; four in shielding facilities; 12 in ‘housing first’ accommodation; eight in private emergency accommodation; four who used visiting supports and two who were not service users.

The highest number of deaths per month in the past four years was 14 in January 2021.

However, 12 people died in January, March and July of this year, with figures expected to rise in the coming months as the State struggles to provide additional accommodation in the depths of the housing crisis.

There were 357 homeless people who died over the past five years in the capital city alone, according to figures released under Freedom of Information by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

Meath TD Peadar Tóibín, who obtained the figures, said the housing minister should feel a “deep sense of shame over these statistics”.

“He should be losing sleep over this. We talk about the housing crisis day in and day out in the Dáil. This is the harsh reality on paper – 357 homeless people have died over the past five years in Dublin alone. What does that fact say about our Government and our society?

“These are dark statistics. We need to do better by vulnerable people in our country.”

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien last year commissioned a report by Austin O’Carroll after a spike in homeless deaths early in the year.

The interim report said that mortality rates could be cut by ending long-term homelessness and that an outreach mental health team should be established as well as work done to reduce overdose-related fatalities.

More Irish News

Top Stories