Wed, Jun 2, 2021
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An interim report on deaths in homeless services was released today, prepared by Dr. Austin O'Carroll. There was a significant increase in the number of people who died in homeless services in 2020 from the previous year which gives rise to significant concerns about the quality of services and supports being provided..
The report outlines findings and analysis of the causes of death among those in homelessness in Dublin and makes recommendations regarding how to reduce the overall number of people dying in the city’s homeless services.
In discussing the report with Dr. O’Carroll, I raised my concerns regarding the standards in the private emergency accommodations (PEAs), which I believe may be contributing to poor mental and physical health of residents.
I called for a trauma-informed approach to homelessness services, in response to the fact that the majority of people in homelessness have a history of trauma and childhood adversity. I believe that unsupported, for-profit accommodations without health and social supports are unsuitable to people with experience of trauma.
I also raised the need for more social inclusion nurses who have an excellent record in responding to the complexities of mental and physical health needs of many of those in homelessness. I have been personally struck by testimonies from people who have experienced homelessness and told me that social inclusion nurses saved their lives at particularly vulnerable times. I was pleased to get confirmation that the number of social inclusion nurses working with people in homelessness has increased in the past year.
Finally, I raised my frustration with the slowness of the reports from the coroner which are an obstacle to learning and improving practices in the way that we need to if we are to prevent further deaths.