The HSE is investigating a sharp increase in the number of deaths of people classified as homeless in the Dublin area last year. 
In 2020, a total of 79 people who were either sleeping rough or in contact with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) died.
This figure was up from 49 in 2019 and 47 in 2018, but during 2020, the method of recording deaths was changed.
A report compiled by the DRHE states that the agency is concerned at the significant increase in deaths in the latter months of 2020 (from July) and a comprehensive review of such deaths for the full year is underway in conjunction with the HSE.
The report points out that eight people died while sleeping rough in the Dublin region. Of these, three had recently stayed in emergency homeless accommodation and had access to such accommodation. Of the other five, three had never been in contact with the homeless executive while the other two had been a number of years ago, but not since.
Another 44 people died in emergency homeless accommodation during the year. These deaths occurred while they were residing in Supported Temporary Accommodation and Private Emergency Accommodation, the report states.
Twenty-seven people died in long-term supported tenancies where there is on-site medical services (3 of these deaths resulted from Covid-19). 
The report, compiled for elected members of Dublin City Council, also noted that the number of single people in hostel-type accommodation has increased by over 800 in the past two years.
During most of 2020, there was excess capacity of emergency beds and during the latter months of 2020, there was a consistent and unprecedented number of unused beds available each night. The DRHE has maintained an excess supply of emergency beds into 2021. 
The most recent count of rough sleepers in the capital was compiled by the Simon Community and revealed that in one week in November a total of 139 people were sleeping rough in the city.
Last month, an RTÉ Prime Time Investigates programme published a survey from people sleeping rough which revealed that over a quarter were turned away from an emergency hostel bed at different times since the pandemic began in March of last year.
One recurring problem for those seeking emergency accommodation is that they are told if they are not originally from Dublin, they are not eligible to be accommodated and they should return to their county of origin.

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