Homelessness has been dominating the headlines this week, after two high-profile tragedies grabbed the headlines.
Just one day into the General Election 2020 campaign, a man was seriously injured when the tent he was sleeping in was removed from the Grand Canal by an industrial vehicle.
It is believed that the man has sustained ‘life-changing’ injuries following the accident.
Just a day later, it was confirmed a homeless woman in her 20s had died in a hostel.
With general election campaigning now in full swing, it goes without saying that a lot of emphasis will be placed on homelessness in the next couple of weeks.
Brian McLoughlin from Inner City Helping Homeless explained to Extra.ie that with many homeless hostels closing as early as 7am, the problem with homelessness is more than just finding somewhere to sleep at night.
While there are some facilities available to homeless people during the day, others find alternative ways to fill the hours.
‘One of the main places that people can go to from early morning up until around 3pm is the Capuchin Day Centre. That’s run by Brother Kevin and they have on-site washing facilities and they do breakfast and dinner.
‘They have people on site that can assist with case management and things like that. A lot of people would go there because they know they can get food and get a wash.
‘There would be other cafes like the Focus Ireland cafe in Temple Bar as well.
‘Outside of that, we’ve heard a lot of other stories about people who are homeless but may have a Leap Card. So they hop on a train and stay on the train for a few hours and get out of the cold and stay dry and stay warm.’
The Inner City Helping Homeless office on Amiens Street also opens between 10am and 10pm and provides things like sandwiches, soup and coffee durign the day.
They also hit the streets from 11pm in the evening to make sure homeless people have enough food and that they are safe for the evening.
Libraries have also become a popular place for homeless people to seek refuge during the day and Brian said that he has heard stories of library workers going above and beyond to help people.
‘A friend of mine worked in one of the City Centre for libraries for 25-years,’ he explained to Extra.ie.
‘If you had asked her five years about homelessness, she would have said they got a lot of homeless people in. Men would come in, get a book, sit in the corner and just stay dry and warm and get off the streets for a few hours.
‘The biggest difference she was seen over the last number of years is the amount of families coming in. You can’t use your phone in the library and you can’t leave kids unattended in the library.
‘She said she’d have mothers coming up to her stressed, trying to make a phone call to sort out accommodation for that evening but she couldn’t leave the kids. She let them sit in the corner, use their phone and get themselves sorted.’
Other than that, Brian explained that, if they can scrape a few euro together, homeless people may go to a coffee shop, buy a cup of tea and stay put for a few hours.
However, businesses may not always welcome homeless people onto their premises and they’re often asked to leave.
This means people can often end up walking the streets for hours on end until they’re either let back into hostels or they decide to settle down on the street for the night.
Inner City Helping Homeless said that if you want to help a homeless person, to approach them and ask if they want something to eat.
Some homeless people, Brian explained to Extra.ie, may have food allergies or are vegetarian and may not be able to eat food if you buy it for them.