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Concern as number of homeless people rises for second consecutive month

Charities say many indicators are pointing to further increases in homelessness later this year.

Homeless tents on Hentry Street in Dublin.
Homeless tents on Hentry Street in Dublin.
Image: Leah Farrell/

CHARITIES HAVE EXPRESSED concern after the number of homeless people in Ireland rose again last month.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that the number of people who were homeless nationwide in July was 8,132. This represents a rise of 118 from the 8,014 homeless in June.

The July figures reveal that a total of 930 families with 2,129 children were homeless last month. This represents a drop of two families from June’s figure of 932.

Homeless charity Focus Ireland said that many indicators are pointing to further increases in homelessness later this year as the private rental market constricts and evictions rise. 

Mike Allen, Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy, said: “All the indicators from our services across the country are that we will see a return to a pattern of rising homelessness in the next few months unless urgent and targeted action is taken.” 

The charity said the government’s new ‘Housing For All’ strategy needs to take a “twin track approach” that will increase social housing provision and improve prevention. The strategy has been delayed since July and is now set to be discussed at Cabinet next Tuesday.

The rise in homelessness fell most heavily on Dublin where an increase of 151 adults homeless was recorded, to bring the total up to 4,220.

Outside the capital, there are 413 homeless adults in Cork, 234 in Galway and 210 in Limerick.

The Dublin Simon Community said it is disappointed with the rise in numbers in the city. 

Its Senior Manager for Community Services said an increase in social and affordable housing is “urgently needed” to address the issue.

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“A lot of the families, couples and singles we work with have been living in emergency accommodation for over a year due to the lack of social and affordable housing available to them,” Caroline Murray said.

“When accommodation options do appear, many are so desperate to leave emergency accommodation that they accept tenancies outside of their price range and quickly find themselves in arrears, placing them at risk of homelessness once again.

The crux of the issue is the lack of properties available within the Homeless Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits, as outlined by the Simon Community Locked Out Reports.

“This leads to clients ‘topping up’ their Homeless HAP with their own income, leaving many with only €100-€200 per week to pay bills, manage their household and feed their families,” Murray said.

Focus Ireland said the progress seen in reducing the number of people who are homeless by over 2,000 people during the Covid-19 pandemic shows what can be achieved through partnership and targeted prevention measures.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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