There was a record 40% decrease in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin during spring of this year, according to figures from the Department of Housing.

The Spring 2018 Rough Sleeper Count shows the number of people sleeping rough dropped from 184 last winter to 110.

The figure of 184 people sleeping rough was the highest number on record since the official count began over ten years ago.

Of the 110 people in the spring count, 84% were men and 16% were female.

79 of them also had a nationality identified - 58% of those were Irish nationals, while the remaining 42% were non-Irish nationals.

The reduction is being attributed to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive providing 260 six-month-stay beds since last October and the Housing First programme, run by the Peter McVerry Trust and Focus Ireland, which secures permanent accommodation for the homeless.

It has created 220 such tenancies since 2014.

But the number of rough sleepers is still high by historical standards.

During the winter count in 2009, the number was just 60.


 

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy welcomed the reduction in the number of people sleeping rough.

He acknowledged the role played by local authorities and the non-governmental organisation sector in tackling homelessness.

Mr Murphy said that his department is "committed to working with the statutory and voluntary bodies to implement enduring solutions to addressing homelessness."

The Chief Executive of the Peter McVerry Trust said that a concerted effort from Government agencies and the voluntary sectors is behind the drop in the number of rough sleepers.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Pat Doyle said that, while a 40% decrease is very welcome, work needs to continue to get the count lower ahead of next winter.

The charity will meet Taoiseach Leo Varadker this week and call on him to provide more mixed buildings, including one-bedroom facilities to house homeless people.

He said the Peter McVerry Trust is counting the figures on a daily basis, and that rough sleepers are the most vulnerable as they do not go to B&Bs or hostels.

Mr Doyle said that efforts were made to encourage the most vulnerable and sickest people to stay in the services when they took up temporary beds at St Catherine's facility.

He said this took some of the rough sleepers off the street.

Focus Ireland reiterated that the fall was due to the "enormous efforts" of the DRHE and homeless organisations and volunteers.

"While seeing  74 fewer people sleeping rough in Dublin is very welcome, it must also be recognised as disappointing, given that 200 new emergency homeless beds were provided over the same period," Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said.

"The fact that the city can open 200 new emergency beds over six months and only see rough sleeping fall by only 74 people is a stark indication of how deep the housing and homeless crisis has now become."

Additional reporting: John Kilraine