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Geoghegan, Tony (2010) Communities of interest - homeless. In: Community drugs problem: defining the problem - defending the responses conference, 15 October 2010, Dublin.

PDF (MQI - homeless presentation) - Published Version

Merchants Quay provides a wide range of services to people who are homeless and for drug users.

Tony informed the audience that Government statistics indicate that there are about 5,000 persons homeless in Ireland at any one time.
• There are 2366 adults and 576 children homeless in Dublin
• Figures from 2008 show 110 Rough sleepers
• Demand for services increasing following on economic downturn. MQI 17% increase in demand for homeless services in 2010.
• There is an interrelationship between drugs and homelessness and they reinforce each other and cause a vicious circle.
• 59% of homeless people are using drugs and over a quarter of these are injecting. Homeless people use drugs more frequently and less safely because they do not have a safe place to use them so they are more likely to get caught and use needles in an unhygienic manner.
• The amount of homeless drug users has doubled in a four year period and there are eight drug deaths per week.
• 70% of homeless people abuse alcohol, which is nine times higher than the general population.
• The profile of a homeless drug user is linked with poverty and disadvantage.

Responding to the Needs of Homeless Drug Users
• There is a need for a housing first approach as well as safe injecting facilities and more wet hostels.
• Greater Integration of Homeless & Drug Services
• Ensuring Access to Treatment
• Addressing compliance issues

Expanding services:
• Out of Hours Needle Exchange
• Respite Care
• Detoxification
• Safer Drug Use Facilities
• Social Support

Policy Recommendations
• Housing First for drug users too.
• Make drug services more accessible to homeless drug users
• Targeted harm reduction interventions with homeless drug users
• Open up homeless services to active drug users
• Responses to anti-social behaviour that do not result in increased homelessness should be developed

Item Type
Conference or Workshop Item
Event Title
Community drugs problem: defining the problem - defending the responses conference
Event Location
Event Dates
15 October 2010
Accession Number
HRB (Electronic Only)
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