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A record number of people are residing in temporary emergency accommodation, according to the Department of Housing figures acquired by RTÉ.

Figures show that 8374 people used emergency accommodation in the month of September this year.

Almost 6000 of these people are located in Dublin.

This is a drastic increase on previous figures.

Over 3000 of these were children, according to RTÉ.

'Month-on-month, we have seen consistent increases in those presenting as homeless with no clear intervention to prevent these people becoming homeless in the first place,' Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) chief executive Anthony Flynn told Today FM.

'This is a National Emergency and needs to be treated as such – the state is failing'

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said in a statement: 'Families and individuals continue to present to our emergency accommodation services.'

'There are still 690 families in hotels – while any one family in a hotel or B&B is one too many – this is still significantly down on the high point in March earlier this year, when 871 families were in hotels and B&Bs.'

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While acutely aware that some believe his perspective of his native country is borne of a vantage point in an ivory tower, Colin Farrell is still keen to add his voice to the conversation surrounding Ireland's homelessness crisis.

While speaking to The Irish Times ahead of the release of his latest film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the Dubliner turned his attention to an issue which has been at the forefront of discussion in Ireland in recent years.

"There are an awful lot living on the streets," he said. "Look, I know I have no right to talk about that. I can talk how much I love Ireland and the timbre of the people. But something has to be done about the homelessness. It's atrocious."

With homeless people dying on our nation's streets at an alarming rate – two lost their lives this week alone – Colin struggles with the economic inequality evident in his native country.

The actor, who was raised in Castleknock and lives in Los Angeles, tapped into this, saying: "There is an ugly balance that says the better some people do the worse others do. That's a cruel balance. It's an imbalance."

"There is an awful lot of affluence in Ireland. But there's a lot of poverty," he added.

With long-term involvement in the Irish Homeless Street Leagues, this certainly isn't the first time the 41-year-old actor has addressed the issue.

Speaking to Ryan Tubridy in December, Colin struggled to understand the imbalance, calling it 'absolute insanity'.

"I'm no politician and I certainly haven't got any clear fiscal answers to the issues because I'm not a politician and I'm certainly not an economist. I get it: I'm an actor and I'm a mouthpiece, blah, blah, blah."

"But it's outrageous; there's no one that wouldn't say it's outrageous. It also is just unnecessary; it doesn't need to be happening. But something has to happen."

Almost a year on, the actor continues to call on politicians to address the issue in a meaningful way, saying: "We're talking about it. But does that mean anything?" 

"Christmas is coming. It'll get colder. There needs to be real fundamental change. We need something that's lasting. Not temporary."

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Homelessness figures have escalated this year, and data from the Department of Housing shows that the number of homeless people in Ireland has reached almost 8,000.

2895 of those are children.

'While the overall numbers in emergency accommodation showed an increase during June, progress is being made in relation to moving families out of hotels / B&Bs,' reads the report. 

'At the end of March a total of 870 homeless families were housed in commercial hotels and B&Bs in the Dublin Region; at the end of June this figure had fallen to 638.'

68 per cent of those homeless are in Dublin. 

3406 homeless adults accessed emergency accommodation in June. 

'We have around 50,000 empty homes in Irish cities or 13 empty homes for every homeless adult' Pat Doyle, chief executive of The Peter McVerry Trust told The Journal.

'That is in an intolerable and deeply frustrating situation.'

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You may have heard of Bang Bang Cafe in Phibsborough as the place is famous for its iconic brunch burger.

Now, the cafe is making more than a culinary gesture to the community.

In a recent Facebook post, the D7 cafe shared a snap of a 'pick me up pack,' free to anyone who needs it. 

'It's a dignity pack (a backpack with things in it) that people finding things tough, living homeless, or in some other difficultly may find useful,' reads the post.

'It's got dry high energy foods, socks, toiletries, water, towels, clean wipes, a hat and gloves and some other things.'

'They were put together by a wonderful young girl to help people in the city and her plan is to take her @Dignity Packs Ireland nationwide, when she has finished her Leaving Cert.'

 

A post shared by Bang Bang (@bangbangd7) on

The pick me up pack is an impactful way for businesses or individuals to help the homeless or struggling members of their communities.

Major kudos to Bang Bang for contributing so positively to their area, and may many local businesses follow suit. 

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The majority of Irish people believe the Government is not doing enough to solve the housing crisis.

The new poll report from the Simon Community shows that 75 per cent of those asked think politicians are not doing enough to make rents more affordable.

Irish people also expressed their concerns about the increasing rate of homelessness over the past number of years, with seven in ten seeing it an a major issue. 

'Particularly at the private rented sector and homelessness, and what we found was that 75 per cent of people believe the Government is not doing enough to keep rent affordable,' spokesperson Niamh Randall told Beat. 

'70 per cent  believe the Government is doing enough to protect those who are renting and 72 per cent are really concerned about the rates of homelessness increasing due to rising rents and reducing supply.'

'So here we see public opinion is ahead of political opinion, demonstrating the real urgency on the ground.' 

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A group of homeless people and activists are sleeping rough outside the Dáil to raise awareness for the crisis of homelessness in Ireland.

The group hope to portray the message that they want homes, not hostels for those struggling due to the housing crisis. 

The group is asking that as many people as possible to come out and show their solidarity to the homeless by joining them at the Dáil.

"Rough sleepers are been left to die in alleyways and parks while the people who are supposed to be running this country line their own pockets and run the country into the ground," reads the description of the event on Facebook.

"We want these people to see the people this is effecting. They can't ignore the homeless people forever if we all sleep outside their office (the Dail) for as long as we can or until they listen to the homeless people when they say HOMES NOT HOSTELS."

The emergency bed system, which allocates hostel beds to the homeless, has gained notoriety recently thanks to the RTÉ documentary Ireland's Property Crisis.

Viewers were left concerned that the service requires homeless people to call up every day in order to secure a bed, and may not know if they have a place to stay until late into the night. 

There are 27 empty houses for every one person in emergency accommodation in Ireland, according to the Simon Communities.

Images: Homes Not Hostels / Facebook

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We all know that homelessness is a major crisis in Ireland, and apparently people sleeping on freezing streets is inspirational for one fashion designer.

New York Fashion Week: Men is currently underway, and N.Hoolywood, a Japanese brand, is facing serious backlash after their show.

 

A photo posted by eletrikhman (@eletrikhman) on

The range commended the homeless for their inventiveness in how they dress, using blankets and sleeping bags as coats and plastic bags to protect shoes from water damage.

"As our designer travelled the cities of America, he witnessed the various ways in which people there lived on the streets and the knowledge they have acquired while doing so," said notes at the show according to Cosmo

"His observations of these so-called homeless or street people revealed them to be full of clever ideas for covering the necessities of life."

 

A photo posted by eletrikhman (@eletrikhman) on

The models appeared on the runway touting black plastic rubbish bags, with extra garments artfully draped an tied over their shoulders.  

The clothes were oversized, highlighting the issue that homeless people have acquiring well fitting garments. 

The slogan "Outdoors, Be safe, Survive" was emblazoned on coats and plastic bags.

 

A photo posted by Mayuu Hayashi (@mayuu_monica) on

Advocates for the homeless and fashion critics alike have labelled the show "tasteless," "tone-deaf" and "insensitive."

"Hopefully,the proceeds from the sale of this collection will go to initiatives benefiting the homeless youth who inspired it," said one, though N. Hoollywood have not said that the sale of any of the items will go towards supporting homelessness services.

It's all a bit too close to Zoolander territory for us. 

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The Apollo House initiative brought major attention to the homelessness crisis in Dublin, and the Home Sweet Home organisation is continuing to shed light on the issue.

The latest video shared on the Home Sweet Home Facebook page showcases the realities of the services that are in place for homeless people in the capital. 

Homeless people in Dublin City are required to ring a free phone number to access a hostel for the night, and the video shows the process.

They are allocated a bed for the night, then have to leave the next morning.

Some homeless individuals interviewed in the short documentary have been waiting for a bed for 11 months.

Former Apollo House volunteers and filmographers Aura McMenamin, Conor Maguire and Sean Fitzgerald put the documentary together, hoping to spread awareness about the "dysfunctional" services.

"The Home Sweet Home media are trying to keep the momentum of Apollo House going," said documentary interviewer Aura McMenamin. 

"Simon Coveney and the HSH negotiators laid out seven points during the negotiations to leave Apollo House," continued Aura. "One of them was to ensure minimum standards in homeless hostels. Our video aims to show the poor conditions of Dublin's hostels."

"People recovering from addiction are put into wet hostels with active drugs users. People report violence and theft. On top of this, beds are allocated on a nightly basis and people must vacate the hostel in the morning without a place to stay during the day. Although HSH can't speak for all hostels, this is a recurring problem and prevents homeless people from having a basic quality of life."

"However, what was most interesting to me when deciding on the concept of the video was the difficulty in getting a bed through the Dublin City Council free phone. I had heard stories of apathy or even derision from phone line operators and the despair of being put in a calling queue for hours on end."

"People we interviewed complained about the way they are spoken to by one operator in particular. One woman was told that she couldn't have another sleeping bag (given to people in lieu of a bed) because she had gotten the last one wet after sleeping in the rain," she continued.

"There is a shortage of beds and a shortage of suitable hostels for people's various needs."

"We hope it makes an impact on people's perception of the homeless. Any notion that homeless people get an easy ride or are happily living off the welfare system is ridiculous."

The video has now been viewed thousands of times and shared across various social media platforms. 

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The occupiers of Apollo House will finally leave the building this morning, as one of Ireland's most supported and well publicised acts of guerrilla activism comes to an end. 

The Home Sweet Home initiative has said that it will move the residents to an undisclosed location.

More than 10 residents stayed in the building overnight as several returned from alternate accommodation they'd been provided by the government, which was deemed "unsafe" and "unsuitable."

They will leave the building this morning to comply with the High Court order to vacate, which came into effect at noon on Wednesday. 

"It is regrettable that in recent days the state has failed to take this opportunity to publicly support this effort to address a national emergency." said the Home Sweet Home initiative. 

"The Apollo House building, because of High Court Action, is not suitable for residents who need to access support services who can't get in."

"We are moving our residents to somewhere they will be able to access services. We are staying with them and continue to advocate for them."

"We will ensure that all of the matters agreed with Minister Coveney will be delivered and will continue our Emergency Housing Plan delivery."

Anyone still inside Apollo House in Dublin could be held in contempt of court, if they haven't vacated the homeless safe haven by the time the High Court is updated this morning.

Yesterday, the court refused to grant an extension to an order to leave the NAMA owned building.

A convoy of taxis are currently moving the residents to their new digs. 

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Homelessness is a serious problem in Dublin, and it's one that many people choose to ignore.

However, the tides are turning, as people have been forced to pay attention to the plight of homeless people sleeping rough on Dublin's frosty streets as guerilla activist group Home Sweet Home battles to maintain control of Apollo House, an empty building which has become a safe haven for the homeless in recent weeks. 

One Facebook page, Homeless Awareness, has been raising awareness about Dublin's crisis since 2014, but the creator of the page has just shared his experiences with having a homeless brother, and the tragic circumstances which led to his homeless status. 

The post, which has been liked and shared hundreds of times, details the life of Darren, the page's founder, and his brother. 

"This is my brother Shane. Shane has been homeless over 10 years battling a drug addiction, we both grew up in a middle class home fostered by a nice family."

"Me and my brother got fostered by a lovely family in Rathmines. I was aged three and my brother was four."

"My brother left at the age of 17 to go live with the Peter McVerry trust over in Ballymun by time he was 18 he was on heroin." 

"I didn't know he was on the stuff till a few years later when people would tell me 'I seen your brother in town he didn't look the best he was on drugs!'"

Darren then shares his experiences with becoming homeless himself, after being kicked out of his foster home at age 18.

"When I was 18 got kicked out of my foster home and I was homeless for a few months sleeping on a friends sofa or sometimes in peoples sheds or the streets."

"I was so scared the first time I slept out on the streets of Dublin. It was the longest night ever walking around trying to find somewhere to sleep. It was hard."

Thankfully, he has managed to turn his life around.

He is now in a stable relationship and has two children, all with a roof firmly over their heads.

However, there is a sense of guilt over the fact that he cannot take in his brother.

"Before anyone says why don't you help him, take him in, I have done."

"But he has robbed me and I can't take that risk again of losing my home, but I've always done my best for my brother and any other homeless person out there."

Shane is still homeless and living on the streets but the author admits that he hasn't seen him for many months. 

The post is gaining a plethora of sympathy in the comments, as people share their own personal stories of living with a homeless relative. 

This isn't the first time a homeless person's personal story has gained national attention.

Three weeks ago, Cinematography student Fionn Kane highlighted the crisis by shooting an emotive video called I'm Still Human, focusing on the hardship faced by James, a homeless man who has been living on the streets for six years.

James reveals the horrific realities of life as a homeless man in Dublin, and tells the camera how he has been assaulted, humiliated and even urinated on while sleeping rough. 

A Facebook post involving James also went viral last month after he was asked to leave McDonalds on O'Connell street despite being a paying customer. 

Almost 7,000 people are now homeless in Ireland, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.

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Receivers appointed over Apollo House in Dublin City have launched High Court action aimed at regaining possession of the property and vacating the current residents.

The Apollo House office building, which previously stood empty, is currently being occupied by the Home Sweet Home coalition of housing activists and homeless people.

The building is currently operating to capacity, and provides food and shelter to those in need.

Last night, a notice of eviction was tied to the gates of the building, requesting that the current residents vacate the premises.

The receivers, who were appointed by NAMA, believe there are serious health and safety concerns about the Tara Street premises and that it is unfit for residential use, according to RTE.

Today the High Court will hear that there are concerns about electricity, sanitation, water and  fire safety, and will decide whether or not to force the occupiers to vacate.

The serving of papers came just hours after Glen Hansard, Hozier and members of Kodaline performed at the building to hundreds of people who turned out in support of the "act of civil disobedience." 

The building is set for demolition in the new year, as it is part of a €50,000,000 plan of redevelopment for the area. 

 

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Homelessness is a serious problem in Dublin, and it's one that many people choose to ignore.

Cinematography student Fionn Kane highlighted the issue by shooting an emotive video called I'm Still Human, focusing on the hardship faced by James, a homeless man who has been living on the streets for six years.

Through the documentary, James reveals the horrific realities of life as a homeless man in Dublin, and tells the camera how he has been assaulted, humiliated and even urinated on while sleeping rough. 

James previously drew attention to the homeless crisis back in November, when he was the subject of a Facebook post by Alicia Gayson (we recommend giving the full post a read).

Alicia's post was spurred by an incident that happened in which she and James were shamed into leaving McDonalds on O'Connell Street due to James' homeless status, and were asked to move along despite the fact that they had paid for the meals they were consuming.

The post has since received 32,000 responses and has been shared almost 17,000 times. 

Alicia is a vocal advocate for the rights of homeless people, and also features in the short film to speak about the incident. She also discusses the attitudes towards homeless people, and refers to one man whom she was involved in a debate with on the FM104 show.

"He was referring in the most derogatory terms to homeless people. He was calling them junkie scumbags, saying that they were a plague on earth," she said.

"Not everybody that is homeless is an addict. Even if we looked at just the addicts, no mother gives birth to a child with the hopes and aspirations that her child was going to become what society deem as a junkie scumbag that's going to sit out on a bridge and beg."

"No human being, when growing up in school and asked what they want to be when they grow up, is going to say they want to be a homeless beggar on O'Connell Street."

Fionn Kane, the creative behind I'm Still Human, told SHEmazing! about his intentions for the documentary:

"I guess the thing that spurred me the most was the fact that there are human beings sleeping in such harsh conditions, whom society seem to have forgotten about."

"These people might be drug addicts, they might have mental health problems, but at the end of the day they feel empathy, compassion and emotions just like me and you," said the aspiring director, who was working on another documentary about homelessness volunteers when he discovered James and Alicia's story.

"I searched for Alicia on Facebook and finally found her. Between filming them both, I was out in town shooting at night with volunteer groups and meeting some lovely, genuine people who have fallen on hard times."

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Alicia Gayson, in the hopes of raising enough money to improve James' quality of life and get him off the streets and into some permanent housing.

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