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Number of homeless people up for fifth month in a row to 10,325

There are 3,028 children in emergency accommodation.

THE NUMBER OF homeless people in Ireland has increased for the fifth month in a row, according to new figures from the Department of Housing.

Some 10,325 in Ireland are in emergency accommodation – 7,297 adults and 3,028 children.

There were 10,049 homeless people in April, a difference of 276.

There are 1,366 homeless families in emergency accommodation, 58 more than last month.

The Dublin Simon Community described the situation as a “cataclysm”, saying that the figures represent “unimaginable stress and trauma caused by spending lengthy periods in the uncertainty of emergency accommodation.

Ciarán King, Dublin Simon’s outreach manager, said: “Many people that we work with have a range of complex needs and are very vulnerable. It is essential that we have access to safe and secure emergency accommodation for this group and adequate emergency places for all those who require it.”

The age bracket with the highest number of homeless people was the 25-44 group, representing 54% of all those in emergency accommodation.

Official homeless recently passed the 10,000 mark for the first time since before the pandemic.

Measures introduced during the Covid-19 crisis had a significant impact on family homelessness in particular and drove numbers down but as soon as restrictions lifted and those measures were rolled back, the situation began to reverse.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said of the new figures: “As well as facing the housing and homeless crisis we are now facing one of the worst periods of inflation in living memory. In addition to rocketing rents vulnerable people nationwide are struggling to pay their petrol energy bills and many families can barely put food on their table.

“If urgent action is not taken by the government, we will undoubtedly see these figures rise in the coming months. It is terrible to see that the progress made through such challenging work during the pandemic has so quickly been lost.”

Focus Ireland welcomed recent changes to the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), but the charity said they do not go far enough.

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said today that the government has “completely lost control of the homeless situation.

“[Housing minister] Darragh O’Brien has presided over a 25% increases in homelessness in the last 12 months alone. If the current trend continues, we could be at 11,000 adults and children in Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation by September.

“His position is becoming increasingly untenable.

“The Minister must outline an emergency plan setting out what measures he plans to put in place to halt and reverse the ever growing levels of homelessness.”

Labour’s housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan called for the implementation of an emergency eviction ban, similar to what was introduced during the pandemic.

“The positive impact of the eviction ban was borne to life during the pandemic when the number of people presenting into homelessness fell dramatically. This temporary measure would put renters at ease that they will not be kicked out of their homes.”

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