Dublin is undergoing a simultaneous increase in homelessness and a mini property boom. It might seem a contradiction but at the heart of both is Ireland’s economic crash of 2008, from which the country is still trying to recover.
Rising homelessness and property prices have been driven by a housing shortage for a young and growing population. Building virtually stopped in Ireland’s crash of six years ago, and austerity has meant a slump in state-funded housebuilding as well as social welfare cuts.
The shortage of accommodation has seen Dublin rents rise – meaning investors are now buying up property, driving the mini-boom.
About 2,700 people are officially homeless in Ireland. The state provides emergency accommodation but some – a minority – end up sleeping on the streets. Charity is a lifeline for many.
The number of people coming through the doors of the Capuchin Day Centre in the centre of Dublin is up six-fold. Volunteers and staff serve free meals to anyone in need.