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Homeless service provides ‘living room for those in need’

Almost 14,000 people were recorded as accessing emergency accommodation in February 2024 according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing

A total of 4,170 children from almost 2,000 families were recorded as homeless – the highest number of children recorded as being in emergency accommodation since records began.

In total, 13,841 people were recorded as homeless last month.

Tiglin is one of the charities that aims to help people overcome homelessness.

Allen Bobinac, service manager at Tiglin at the Lighthouse on Pearse Street, said in the year and a half that he has been a manager, demand for their services has increased dramatically.

“I think it started at 60 when I was starting and then it went up to 150 and now it’s essentially 400 to 500 a day [using Tiglin’s services],” Mr Bobinac said.

Mr Bobinac came to Ireland from Croatia with his twin brother in 2015. They were homeless at the time, and he first came into contact with Tiglin as a service user.

Tiglin helped the pair get housing and education and now both brothers work for the charity.

Mr Bobinac has made some changes to Tiglin since becoming a manager. Now homeless people can get a haircut there and listen to live music and join movie nights in the evenings.

“We use the line ‘it’s a living room for those in need’,” Mr Bobinac said.

Allen Bobinac, Service Manager at Tiglin at the Lighthouse

“Everyone needs a place to relax. Everything is about integration,” he added.

“So how do you get people who are sleeping on the street to being productive members of society? And that’s a long process in itself, but this is how it starts.”

‘Living day-to-day’

“I’m living day-to-day between places like this,” said Gavin, who has been homeless for 21 years.

Gavin said he moves between day centres and homeless shelters.

He said he hopes that someday he will get a place to call his own.

“But the way things are going … it just doesn’t look well, does it?”

Kieran, aged 20, has been homeless for over a year, but he says he is determined to go to rehab, get clean and go back to his family.

“I’ve lost my family to addictions. I need them back,” he said.

“Last year, me being homeless, I’ve seen a lot of things that I don’t want to see again,” he said.

Kieran hopes to work for a homeless charity once he is back on his feet.

“That’s my goal because I got a lot of help,” he said.

Daniel has been homeless since he was 18. He is now 26. He thinks that he will get a home in “about 10 years or so”.

“That’s how long the waiting list is,” he said.

Another user said: “It’s a great place to go and there should be more like it.”

“You can look around. Everyone is welcome. They are from all parts of the world.”

Asylum seekers also come to Tiglin for meals. One asylum seeker from Uganda said he has been in Ireland for two months and is still waiting on accommodation.

In the meantime, the man is using day centres like Tiglin to get his meals.

“We really appreciate what they do for us,” he said.

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