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New record high of 11,542 people recorded as homeless in Ireland

New record high of 11,542 people recorded as homeless in Ireland

Staff Reporter

06 Jan 2023 3:05 PM

The increase in Ireland’s homelessness figures to a new record high of 11,542 people has been described as “deplorable”.

It is the fifth consecutive month that the Government’s official homeless figures have reached a record high, despite a temporary eviction ban being in effect from November.

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Housing charities have asked the Government to take action before the eviction ban ends in April to ensure the figures do not surge further.

The Department of Housing figures for November show there were 8,048 adults and 3,494 children recorded as homeless – an increase of 14 children on October’s figures.

Housing charity Simon Community said it represents an increase of 1.27% in one month and a 26.85% increase on the same period last year.

It also said the figure of 1,371 homeless 18 to 24-year-olds represents a 4% monthly increase, marking another record high.

Wayne Stanley, executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said the eviction ban was an “important step” but if further action is not taken, “unthinkable” homeless figures will be “surpassed and redefined each month”.

“Now we need to see momentum on the provision of secure affordable accommodation to those in homelessness in the coming weeks and throughout 2023.

“In the short-term, this means doing more with what we have, and looking to the allocation of current local authority housing and vacancy in the general housing stock.

“We need to see more innovation in housing provision in 2023.

“We welcome the focus on rapid-build homes and will be calling on Government to ensure that innovation in this area is driven forward.

“We would also highlight again the need for the insertion of a right to housing in our constitution.”

Housing charity Focus Ireland said that without the eviction ban the figures would be “significantly higher”, and that there is a risk the figures could surge in April when it is due to end.

Focus Ireland chief executive Pat Dennigan said that if people cannot be moved into new housing being made available in the coming months, “we will face a spring wave of evictions in April when the ban ends, with no emergency accommodation available for them”.

“It is vital that every action possible is taken between now and then to prevent that renewed crisis from happening.

“While we warmly welcome the words of commitment towards addressing the homeless crisis from both the Minister of Housing, Darragh O’Brien, and new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, we need to see those words turned into urgent action.

“Focus Ireland know the homeless crisis is solvable – 2,706 new-build social homes were delivered between January and September 2022, and while final figures for 2022 will not be released until March, minister O’Brien has said that most newly built social homes were completed towards the end of 2023.

“The minister has indicated that last year more social homes were built than for very many years, which would mean that local authorities could be allocating upwards of 3,000 new social homes over the next few months.

“The Government need to find a way of allocating these homes which creates a fair balance between the families that have been years on the waiting list living in unsuitable conditions and to those families who are trapped in homelessness but have not been registered for so long.”

We need to start treating this like a national emergency

Labour’s housing spokeswoman Rebecca Moynihan

Mr Dennigan also expressed concern about the length of time people are staying in emergency accommodation.

“The number of people who have been homeless for more for than six months is increasing and in Dublin there are now 178 families and 574 single people who have been in homeless accommodation for over two years. This is unacceptable.”

Labour’s housing spokeswoman Rebecca Moynihan said it was “absolutely deplorable” that homelessness was continuing to rise.

“The minister should publish each month for the duration of the eviction ban, figures from local authorities, how many tenants in situ schemes have been completed, how many are currently being processed and outline reasons why they do not go ahead.

“We need to start treating this like a national emergency.”

Housing charities have said that the Government’s official tally is not a complete picture of how many people are without a home across the country.

Only those who are using emergency homeless accommodation are counted.

This excludes people who attempt to access homeless accommodation but are refused, as well as women and children in domestic refuges, people who have been granted asylum who are living in direct provision centres, and people who are couch-surfing.

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