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We’re heartbroken by rising numbers in homelessness, say campaigners as figures reach new record high ahead of Christmas

HOMELESSNESS in Ireland has reached a shameful new record high as 11,397 Irish people are now living in emergency accommodation – including 3,480 kids.

The latest statistics from October show the largest increase in homelessness since May 2020 and the first time the figure has passed 11,000. 

The figures in emergency accommodation don't include those sleeping rough in Ireland
The figures in emergency accommodation don’t include those sleeping rough in IrelandCredit: Getty Images – Getty

That stark number also includes 3,480 children, with campaigners calling on the Government to urgently address the issue.

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan who is the party’s Housing spokesperson, said: “With Christmas now just one month away, figures released today show the highest number of people experiencing homelessness and living in emergency accommodation ever recorded.

“There are now 11,397 people living in emergency accommodation, with 3,480 of them children.

“The number of people in emergency accommodation has increased by 29 percent in the past year, while the number of children is up by 38 per cent during the same period.

“It is important to remember that these figures do not include people sleeping rough on our streets, in tents, on floors or on couches.

“Shockingly, a report published earlier this month by the National Oversight and Audit Commission showed that almost 4,500 council owned homes are currently vacant.”

The Peter McVerry Trust said it’s hopeful that the new moratorium on evictions, in place from this month until March, will reduce the numbers in homelessness.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, said: “October’s homeless figures are concerning – it’s difficult to see any increase in the number of people in homelessness.

“The high number of people presenting as a result of private evictions is further evidence of the need for the winter moratorium on evictions.

“The no-fault ban – which only came into effect this month – should reduce the number of people coming into homelessness and gives us a window of opportunity to ramp up delivery.”      

The October figures are the sixth month in a row that the number of people in homelessness has risen.

Catherine Kenny, CEO of Dublin Simon Community, said: “We are devastated to learn of the continued increase in the number of people presenting to Dublin emergency accommodation services.

“For the sixth month in a row, we have reached the scandalous milestone of the highest number of people ever recorded in homelessness in the capital.

“Among this group is a growing cohort of older people presenting to emergency accommodation services.

“In the last 12 months, the number of people aged 65 and older residing in emergency accommodation has grown by 39 per cent.

“Over the same period, the number of people aged between 45 and 64 has grown by 32 per cent.

“Homelessness is traumatising at any age, and for older people, that trauma is compounded by the physical, mental and social challenges of age.

“No one should have to live in homelessness, and undoubtedly, no one should have to live their latter years in homelessness.

“It has been truly heart-breaking for our staff to see the growing number of older people arriving in emergency services and trying to navigate a system that is incredibly tough at the best of times.

“This should not be happening.”

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