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Homeless figures: 459 fewer people in emergency accommodation in May

The total number of homeless people in Ireland is currently 8,876.

Inner City Helping Homeless outreach volunteers hand out hot drinks, food and toiletries to homeless people in Dublin city centre during the coronavirus lockdown.
Inner City Helping Homeless outreach volunteers hand out hot drinks, food and toiletries to homeless people in Dublin city centre during the coronavirus lockdown.
Image: Niall Carson

THE DEPARTMENT OF Housing has said there were 459 fewer people in emergency accommodation in May this year compared to the previous month.

Figures from the department show the total number of homeless people in Ireland is currently 8,876.

There were 173 fewer adults, 286 fewer dependants and 122 fewer families in emergency accommodation in May.

Minister Eoghan Murphy said the number for May were “encouraging as we continue to move families and individuals into permanent homes”.

Following the publication of the Homeless Report for May, Minister Murphy commented:

“Significantly there are fewer families in emergency accommodation today than at any point in the last three years,” he said.

The number of families and children in emergency accommodation fell in 2019, the first annual fall in a number of years. The good work of those in homeless services has continued throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Nevertheless, our entire focus must remain on those who need our help to secure a permanent home.

“The work of local authorities and NGOs over the last number of months as we work hard to keep some of our most vulnerable citizens safe during the Covid-19 crisis has been exemplary and I again want to thank everyone for their efforts.”

CEO of Dublin Simon Community Sam McGuinness said that while the charity welcomed the reduction in May, there can be no going back to overcrowded emergency accommodation or the circumstances that have driven the current homelessness crisis. He also called on the next government to commit to cease using hotels to shelter families an stop indiscriminate evictions.

“We need to see a creative and proactive approach from the next government that will turn the housing crisis around and make homelessness an exception rather than the norm. Otherwise the coming economic storm will deliver a crisis of unimaginable proportions on our streets and create a generation of interrupted lives,” he said.

“We urgently need to take the lessons learned over the past few months on board and build on the success of our partnerships with other NGOs and government bodies in delivering permanent housing solutions to the most vulnerable in society.”

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Focus Ireland today called on the next government to put in place a clear roadmap out of Covid-19 for housing and homelessness if the Programme For Government is passed by all three parties.

“People who are homeless who were accommodated during lockdown should not be expected to return to the streets or emergency accommodation and the election promise of building ‘more affordable homes’ must not be broken,” said CEO Pat Dennigan.

“We are encouraged that a number issues we campaigned for, such as a referendum on the Right to Housing, are included in the new Programme and any new government can’t afford to let voters down as a majority clearly stated that housing and homelessness were the key issues in the last election. We are at a turning point which will determine the future of the homeless crisis not just for the coming months but for many years to come.”

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