Simon Community calls for radical changes to policy to meet the needs of people who are homeless.

The Simon Community has launched Settlement First, an analysis of the impact of state policy on homeless people. In the report published today, the Simon Community said that greater priority must be given to providing long term housing to people in need. It also revealed that emergency accommodation costs twice as much as private sector accommodation.

Days and nights of fear and isolation.

There are currently five and a half thousand people in Ireland who are classified as homeless. Many homeless people have remarkable resilience who give strength to others. One such man is Jim, a former member of the Defence Forces, who now lives in supported housing in Dublin.

A tramp is a label. They see an image of a man but they do not see the man because nobody stops to talk.

While there are some temporary care facilities available to homeless people, a report published today says there is a need for more long term care facilities.

Noeleen Hartigan of the Simon Community, argues that it is a fundamental human right that everyone should have the right to somewhere to call home.

At a Simon centre in Dublin, each person has their own room and their own key. Malcolm O'Toole, who suffers from chronic back pain, has been living there for two years. His pain relief comes from lying flat on his back at the Simon community he has been able to do this in the safety of his own room.

I used to be lying flat on the pavement when I was out on the street.

A fellow housemate, Eamon Duignan from Leitrim, says that more long term facilities like this are needed.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 July 2005. The reporter is Barry Cummins.