20 February 2017

Labour spokesperson on urban regeneration, Joe Costello, has called on the HSE and local authortities to do more to ensure that new mothers and hospital outpatients aren’t being discharged into homelessness.

“The figures supplied by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive reveal that 689 patients were discharged from Dublin hospitals into emergency homeless accommodation in 2016.

“The Mater Hospital which services the North Inner City had a staggering 4,402 patients attend its Accident and Emergency services who had either no fixed abode or were living in emergency accommodation last year. Unbelievably, the Rotunda Hospital discharged 53 mothers and presumably their new born children into emergency accommodation in 2015.

“These figures demonstrate the appalling crisis in homelessness that besets the country at present.

“All patients who access hospital services are vulnerable when discharged, none more so than mothers and children.

“It is alarming that the HSE is only now beginning to pilot a protocol with the local authorities and the homeless and voluntary services to tackle the problem of discharging patients into homelessness.

“The local authority as the statutory housing authority is equally at fault in not having acted before now.

“Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the Coalition Government which has pledged to eliminate homelessness but is sitting on its hands while the number of homeless individuals and families continue to grow apace.”

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