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Monday 30 January 2023 Dublin: 5°C
Shutterstock/Edvard Nalbantjan
# Homelessness
11,397 people in emergency accommodation as homelessness hits record high
The Peter McVerry Trust has said that the ban on evictions over winter should reduce the number of people coming into homelessness

LAST UPDATE | Nov 25th 2022, 3:10 PM

THE OFFICIAL COUNT of homeless people in Ireland has reached a new record of 11,397.

The figure, shown by the Department of Housing’s latest monthly homelessness report published today, includes 7,917 adults and 3,480 children.

It represents an increase in October of 422 people compared to September. 

The figures only counts people using emergency facilities and does not factor homeless people with no form of accommodation. It also does not include asylum seekers or refugees from Ukraine.

The number of people staying in emergency accommodation has increased every single month since June 2021, when the figure stood at 8,014.

In Dublin city centre, it is the sixth month in a row that the number of people in emergency accommodation has increased, according to the Dublin Simon Community.

Catherine Kenny, CEO of Dublin Simon Community, said: “We are devastated to learn of the continued increase in the number of people presenting to Dublin emergency accommodation services. For the sixth month in a row, we have reached the scandalous milestone of the highest number of people ever recorded in homelessness in the capital.”

“Among this group is a growing cohort of older people presenting to emergency accommodation services. In the last 12 months, the number of people aged 65 and older residing in emergency accommodation has grown by 39%. Over the same period, the number of people aged between 45 and 64 has grown by 32%,” Kenny said.

Homelessness is traumatising at any age, and for older people, that trauma is compounded by the physical, mental and social challenges of age. No one should have to live in homelessness, and undoubtedly, no one should have to live their latter years in homelessness.

“It has been truly heart-breaking for our staff to see the growing number of older people arriving in emergency services and trying to navigate a system that is incredibly tough at the best of times.

“This should not be happening.” 

Peter McVerry Trust, the national housing and homeless charity, also expressed its concerned that a record-breaking number of people are experiencing homelessness in Ireland. 

CEO Pat Doyle said that the number of people who have gone into homelessness is a direct result of private evictions, and is “further evidence of the need for the winter moratorium on evictions.”

The winter eviction ban came into effect this month and will remain in place until March.

Similarly, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said that “in the face of these shameful figures, it is important to remind ourselves that homelessness is not inevitable”.

“It is not a natural phenomenon, it is the result of bad policies and can be ended, over time, with better policies delivered with urgency. However, the failure of successive governments has led to a crisis where nearly 3,500 children will spend Christmas in emergency accommodation,” Dennigan said.

“Too many of these children were born into homelessness this year and will spend their first ever Christmas in this world as homeless. Words cannot properly express how morally wrong it is that this is happening.”

A protest is due to take place in Dublin tomorrow to demand that the government take action on the homelessness crisis.

The ‘Raise the Roof’ protest is gathering in Parnell Square from 1pm tomorrow afternoon.

Additional reporting by Lauren Boland

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