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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 November, 2019
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There are now over 10,300 people homeless in Ireland, a new record high

A rough sleeper count also found 128 people sleeping on the streets in Dublin.

Image: Leon Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE NUMBER OF homeless adults and children living in state-funded emergency accommodation in Ireland has risen again, latest figures show. 

The March homeless report from the Department of Housing shows an increase of four adults and 37 children living in emergency accommodation in the state. 

There were 6,484 homeless adults and 3,821 children living in this type of accommodation last month, giving a combined total of 10,305 people.

This is the highest number on record since the Department started recording these numbers, making it the third consecutive month that the record has been surpassed. 

Of the total number, the vast majority are in Dublin. There were a total of 4,315 adults and 2,806 children in homeless emergency accommodation in Dublin last month. 

“We continue to put considerable efforts in to prevent people from entering emergency accommodation, while also exiting as many families and individuals from homelessness as possible each month,” Housing Minister Murphy said. 

The government was roundly criticised by opposition politicians and NGOs for its record on homelessness. The Fine Gael / Independent government has overseen significant rises in homelessness since it took power.

The number of homeless children has risen by over 1,000 and the number of homeless adults has jumped by about 2,4000 since May 2016, when the government came into power. 

“Once again we have seen further increases in the number of people that are homeless across the state. This is a clear indication that homeless services are failing the most vulnerable in our society and Rebuilding Ireland [the government's Housing Action Plan] has been a total failure,” CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn said. 

The homelessness crisis has increased year on year and we are now in the midst of the worst levels of homelessness in the history of the state and Minister Murphy and his department are directly responsible for this.

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin also said that the government’s housing plan wasn’t working, and called for mass protests calling for a new housing policy.

“Until the government accepts that Rebuilding Ireland is not working and implements a new housing policy things are going to get worse. But only mass mobilisation on the streets and pressure in the Dáil and Council can secure this,” he said. 

Rough sleepers

Today also saw the publication of figures from the spring rough sleeper count. The count aims to assess the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin on a single night in April.

It found a total of 128 people sleeping rough on the night of 9 and early morning of 10 April. This marks a decrease of 28 from the winter rough sleeper count in November.

However, it marks a rise of 18 on the spring count last year, which is more directly comparable. 

Of the people found to be rough sleeping in Dublin, 75% were male and 25% were female. 

Just under 80% were Irish nationals, while 21% were non-Irish nationals, excluding a total of 29 people whose nationality was not identified. 

Commenting on the numbers, Eileen Gleeson – director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive – said that the large number of people sleeping rough was a “serious area of concern”. 

“We have been working with our charity partners to increase emergency accommodation, and have increased capacity by 250 permanent beds,” she said. 

The essential response to address the needs of people sleeping rough is the provision of more long-term housing solutions for individuals and couples. 

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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