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February figures show number of people in emergency accommodation fell to 10,148

Eoghan Murphy said that his priority during the Covid-19 pandemic would be the safety of those in emergency accommodation.

Image: Sam Boal

THE NUMBER OF people in Ireland who were in emergency homeless accommodation in February fell by 123 people to 10,148, according to government figures.

These figures relate to services available before Covid-19 measures from the Irish government came into force.

There were 10,271 people homeless in January, and this fell to 10,148 for February.

The number of adults recorded as homelessness in February fell by 83 to 6,614. Child homelessness fell by 40, with the number of children homeless now at 3,534.

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 18.35.35 Source: Department of Housing

Screenshot 2020-03-31 at 18.37.51 Source: Department of Housing

Following the publication of the Homeless Report for February, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy said that his priority in the coming weeks would be the safety of those in emergency accommodation.

“Local authorities and NGOs have been working incredibly hard to ensure that there is extra capacity in emergency accommodation. This extra capacity means that self-isolation can be put in place where needed, but also so that we can de-congregate settings to allow for proper social distancing measures.

“More than 600 new places have been secured, with more to come if necessary. I have guaranteed local authorities additional funding to support this work.”

He said that the Department of Housing is working closely with the HSE, the local authorities and their NGO service delivery partners “to ensure that all households accessing emergency accommodation receive the necessary supports during this crisis”.

Wayne Stanley, spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the latest homeless figures are a stark representation of the scale of vulnerability that the homelessness and housing crisis has created:

“The 10,148 people reported as homeless in these figures released today are indicative of the enormous number of people exposed to the Covid-19 pandemic because of the failure to adequately address the homeless crisis.

It is a crisis within a crisis. It is devastatingly clear just how essential a secure and affordable home is to our social and economic well-being and crucially, to our health.

Depaul CEO David Carroll said that the homeless figures “remain troubling”.

“However, at this time of uncertainty all our focus and energy is being directed into keeping people safe. Collaboration is vital in this respect.

“We have been working extremely hard with the HSE and the DRHE and other statutory agencies all with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable in our society.

“We have reacted by setting up both cocooning and isolation units and we will continue to adapt to this ever-changing crisis.”

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