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Nearly 9,000 in emergency accommodation in October as 'worrying' upwards trend continues

2,500 children were living in emergency accommodation last month.

A rally against the housing crisis in Dublin, September 2021
A rally against the housing crisis in Dublin, September 2021
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

NEARLY 9,000 PEOPLE were in emergency accommodation in October as the figure rose again for the fifth month in a row.

The Department of Housing’s Monthly Homelessness Report for October, published today, shows that 6,317 homeless adults were living in emergency accommodation in the last week of the month.

Additionally, there were 2,513 children, bringing the total number of people in emergency accommodation to 8,830.

In April, the government recorded the lowest level of homeless individuals in emergency accommodation since June 2017.

However, the figure has steadily risen since then, with the Simon Communities of Ireland attributing the change to the lifting of the moratorium on evictions in May.

Wayne Stanley, the Simon Communities’ head of policy and communication, said that the “stark numbers today are a clear consequence of a housing crisis sharpened by the Covid pandemic”.

He said the “lack of supply and crisis of affordability in our housing system is going to continue to drive people into homelessness”.

“Unless preventative action is taken now, we are heading into a crisis Christmas for thousands of people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”

The issue is most acute in Dublin where 1,903 children and 4,432 adults were in emergency accommodation.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “The rise in the number of people in homelessness last month is disappointing but of wider concern is that we have now seen a sustained rise in the number of people recorded as homeless for the past few months.

“There has been and continues to be enormous efforts from NGOs in partnership with the DRHE, Local Authorities and the Department of Housing to offer more supports to people at risk and provide pathways into housing for those who do end up in homeless services.

“Even with this latest increase we are still someway off the peak we experienced in 2019 but we have to ensure that we do everything we can to stop the increase, to stabilise the numbers and ultimately drive it down to much lower levels.

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Sam McGuinness of the Dublin Simon Community said that if the “worrying” upwards trend continues, more than 6,000 people in Dublin would spend Christmas in emergency accommodation.

“Our staff, nurses, clients and residents are now preparing for Christmas within the fourth Covid wave,” McGuiness said.

“As it is, Christmas is an incredibly challenging time for people experiencing homelessness,” he said.

It can trigger childhood trauma, make them think about family and friends they no longer see and serve as a stark reminder of the loneliness and uncertainty of their current circumstances.

“It’s particularly tough for the single women and men in our services, many of whom have nowhere else to go on the day.”

65% of the adults in emergency accommodation last month were men while 35% were women.

Over half – 55% – were between 24 and 44-years-old; 27% were 45 to 64; 17% were 18 to 24; and 2% were over the age of 65.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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