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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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The number of homeless families has increased to a new record

There are now 1,778 families in emergency accomodation.

Dublin mother Margaret Cash is photographed with her children after being given access to temporary accommodation.
Dublin mother Margaret Cash is photographed with her children after being given access to temporary accommodation.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE NUMBER OF homeless people and families in the State increased last month to a new record figure, according to the latest statistics.

The Department of Housing has recorded that there were 6,024 adults and 3,867 children in emergency accommodation during the week of 23-29 July.

This represents a decrease of 24 adults but and increase of 43 children on the previous month, meaning an overall increase of 19 people.

The number of families affected also increased from 1,754 to the latest number of 1,778.

The vast majority of those in emergency accomodation are in Dublin, which makes up 68% of the overall figure, and Minister Eoghan Murphy said this afternoon that this is a worrying aspect to the problem.

“The numbers presenting to homeless services in the Dublin region remains a concern, despite significant progress in exiting individuals and families from emergency accommodation into independent tenancies.”

The situation would be more challenging were it not for the huge efforts being put in to prevention. This is possible because new homes are being found for people but we still need significantly more homes. My department is meeting regularly with the four Dublin local authorities and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) to coordinate our response to this challenging situation. 

The combined number of adults and children using emergency accomodation is now at 9,891 and Murphy declined to speculate yesterday whether this number could hit 10,000.

Responding to the latest homelessness increase, Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin TD said that the figures represent a year-on-year jump of 21% and show that the crisis is deepening. 

Minister Murphy and his government are failing to tackle the crisis while Fianna Fáil sits on its hands. The government has decided to plough ahead with its failing policies instead of holding its hands up and admitting they are on the wrong track.

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Homelessness charity Focus Ireland has also criticised the government this afternoon, claiming that they are “getting further away” from solving the crisis.

“The shocking fact that almost four families became homeless every single day in July in Dublin alone really shows how far we are from getting on top of the crisis,” Focus CEO Pat Dennigan said today.

There is some positive news as we are managing to slow down the increase in the numbers living in emergency accommodation through the hard work of staff in Focus Ireland, other homeless organisations, local authorities and the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive.

“However, the main reason families are becoming homeless is that they are being evicted from their homes by private landlords due to properties being sold or repossessed. The only solution to this crisis is that, as a society, we must do more to keep families in their existing homes so they never become homeless in the first place.”

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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