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Darragh O'Brien

Jump in number of homeless is 'serious concern', says Housing Minister

Latest figures showed there were 8,475 people who are homeless in September – the fourth consecutive month that the number has risen.

THERE ARE “DEEP concerns” over the rise in the number of people who are homeless, after the number jumped to 8,475 in September.

The number of homeless increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to figures published by the Department of Housing.

Data shows the number of people homeless in August was 8,212, an increase of 263 in a month.

But the department said that the number had dropped compared to last September when there were 8,656 people homeless.

Since hitting its highest level in October 2019, the numbers of individuals in emergency accommodation has decreased by 2,039, from 10,514 to 8,475.

There were 1,005 families in emergency accommodation in September, an increase of 52 on the 953 recorded in the previous month.

September 2021 showed a decrease of 123 families on the 1,128 total recorded in September 2020.

From its highest level, the number of homeless families is down to 773, having been reduced from 1,778 in July 2018.

A total of 2,344 children are in emergency accommodation, an increase of 155 on the 2,189 recorded in August.

The report also shows that during the last three months, a total of 1,308 adults and their dependants exited homelessness into tenancies or were prevented from entering emergency accommodation.

A total of 4,043 exits from homelessness have been achieved in the year to date.

Focus Ireland CEO, Pat Dennigan, said: “During 2020, incredible work was achieved during the pandemic to keep the most vulnerable protected.

“Despite this latest setback, we made major progress working with the State, local authorities and NGOs to reduce the number of people homeless from a record total of over 10,000 to under 8,000.

“We are now deeply concerned that the figures are heading in the wrong direction, undoing the major progress that was made last year.

“The progress that was made during the last two years is now being lost because we have stopped doing the things that worked – protecting renters and freezing rents.

“Unfortunately, we are facing another winter in which many children will be spending Christmas in emergency accommodation.”

Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, said: “The increase in homelessness figures seen in recent months is a serious concern for the Government.

“While we have made significant improvements on the situation we were facing two years ago, when homelessness was at its highest, there is still a huge amount of work to be done.

“In September, the Government published Housing for All and committed to building on this progress by eradicating homelessness by 2030.

“There are challenges in the short term, with housing supply being constrained over the past two years.

“Housing for All includes 18 distinct actions tailored to eliminate homelessness. Four billion euro in capital funding is being invested annually on social and affordable housing.

“This is the biggest such programme in the history of the State.

“There will be an increase in supply across all tenure types, with over 90,000 social homes, 36,000 affordable homes and 18,000 cost rental homes to be delivered by 2030.”

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