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Homelessness figures dip but charity warns of lengthy spells in emergency accommodation

May stats show that there are 5,843 adults in emergency accommodation.

Tents outside the Ilac Centre on Henry Street in Dublin city centre.
Tents outside the Ilac Centre on Henry Street in Dublin city centre.
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE NUMBER OF homeless people in the state fell slightly last month but the Simon Community has issued a warning about single homeless adults facing lengthy spells in “inappropriate” emergency accommodation.

Statistics released by the Department of Housing today revealed there were 5,843 adults in emergency accommodation during the last week of May, the period of the month when homeless figures are compiled.

There were also 928 homeless families across the country, including 1,341 adults and 2,148 dependents. The number of homeless families increased by three last month.

The majority of people accessing emergency accommodation were in Dublin, where the total was 5,713 with 4,054 total adults, 3,029 single adults and 1,659 children.

The stats represent a slight drop on the figures for April, when there were 5,889 homeless adults and 2,193 dependents.

James Hinchon from the Simon Community says people are staying in emergency accommodation for far longer than the recommended six-month period due to a lack of viable move-on options, particularly for single people.    

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“Emergency accommodation is intended for exactly that – emergencies. It is not a home. Sharing rooms, living spaces with 20 or 30 people is not the long-term goal, and studies have shown that the longer people spend in these places, the greater the risk to their health and future,” Hinchon said.

Feelings of detachment and isolation are strong, especially now in a pandemic environment when people do not have the same flexibility to connect with friends and family.

Statistics on rough sleepers released earlier this month found that 125 people were sleeping rough in Dublin in the week of 19 to 25 April.

The count found that nearly 60% of rough sleepers were using a tent. The majority of rough sleepers were Irish, male and aged between 26 to 45, while 75% were linked with one of four Dublin local authorities.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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