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'Enough is enough': There are over 2,800 children homeless in Ireland

There were 1,312 families with 2,777 children homeless staying in emergency accommodation in May.

Image: Shutterstock/Volodymyr Baleha

THERE ARE CLOSE to 2,800 children homeless in Ireland, latest figures show.

The figures for homeless people staying in emergency in May were released today, showing a small rise in the numbers of homeless families and children.

In total, there were 1,312 families with 2,777 children homeless staying in emergency accommodation in May.

This marks a small rise of 69 children from the numbers from April.

There were 4,922 homeless adults in emergency accommodation in May, a small drop on the previous month.

Of the homeless families, 647 were accommodated in commercial hotels and B&Bs in the Dublin region. This marks a drop from the 871 in similar accommodation in March.

Commenting on the figures, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said that the number of families in hotels was “of course too many” and that officials were continuing “to deal with an emergency situation”.

He commended people who have been working in homelessness and housing services for the work they have done.

“The importance of their efforts is even more revealing when we look at the number of new families who presented as homeless during this time.

Roughly six hundred did. Half of these families were able to be kept from entering hotels thanks to their work, while the other half has been supported by our agencies in commercial hotels and B&Bs.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for housing Eoin Ó Broin strongly criticised the Government for “utterly failing” to assist homeless families.

“For every family that exits homelessness another is there to take its place,” he said.

This is down to the government failing to get to grips with the scale of the problem and failing to introduce measures aimed at keeping families in their homes.

Anthony Flynn – CEO of community group Inner City Helping Homeless – said the figures were “an unrealistic representation of the problem”.

He said that crisis in homelessness was “far worse than indicated”.

“The previous minister’s promise to end the use of hotel/B&B style accommodation has completely failed, unrealistic targets were set and now it’s time to return to the drawing board,” said Flynn.

 

Family Hubs

Earlier this month, Murphy confirmed that a deadline set by his predecessor Simon Coveney to have all families out of commercial hotels by July would not be met.

Commenting today, he said that the Dublin local authorities and the Housing Department had “redoubled our efforts” to ensure that all of the families in commercial hotels at the end of May would have a pathway out of them.

A big part of this plan is the family hub model of group homes for homeless families.

“Family hubs are an important first response for families who become homeless and who have no alternative other than commercial hotels,” said Murphy.

Hotels are not the answer and hubs will provide more appropriate and suitable accommodation for families.

Read: A changing promise: The Government said it would get families in hotels out of homelessness, but now it’s putting them into hubs

Read: Minister admits the July deadline for getting homeless families out of hotels will not be met

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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