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Home > Past, current and future perspectives on service responses to the homeless street drinking population of dublin city centre.

Duffin, Tony (2006) Past, current and future perspectives on service responses to the homeless street drinking population of dublin city centre. MSc thesis, Trinity College Dublin.

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This research examines service responses to the homeless street drinking population of Dublin City Centre, with the aim of carrying out a preliminary evaluation of the extent to which policy and practice is currently succeeding in addressing the needs of this specific group. The two substantive areas considered are the reality of the drinking problems faced by this cohort and an evaluation of current policy and management/practice of services to this group.

The main policy themes examined within the research were the homeless strategy, with its attempt to cross-cut/join-up the statutory and voluntary services, the extension of harm reduction ideas to street drinking and the growing awareness of the multiple needs of this group. A triangulation method was employed using a qualitative research approach. A literature review critically analysed current national and international thinking regarding this cohort and eight semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders were carried out. These methods enabled a comparison of cognitions and expectations of the interviewees while comparing them with current thinking in the wider spheres of influence.

The findings reveal that homeless street drinkers in Dublin City Centre are not, predominately rough sleepers. The inability of this cohort to comply with a range of services was identified as a significant issue, this was seen as one reason why homeless street drinkers are frequently 'houseless' but not 'roofless' i.e. often living in temporary accommodation. Significantly, the research revealed that poly-substance use and the risk of overdose are major risk factors for this cohort. That a new generation of younger people are using the streets to drink in and their use of licit and illicit substances is more prevalent. Notably, the research shows that co-morbidity is a major issue for this cohort, with psychiatric assessment identified as a major block to people experiencing co-morbidity.

Finally, the research shows that in the last ten years a philosophical change has taken place which embraces harm reduction for this cohort. Along with this philosophical shift, the research found that although there is cynicism regarding 'higher policy cross cutting initiatives' improvements have been made in the service delivery to homeless street drinkers in Dublin City Centre.


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