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Homelessness record broken again as 11,632 people in emergency accommodation in December

The Department of Housing published the figures this afternoon.

LAST UPDATE | 27 Jan 2023

THE NUMBER OF people experiencing homelessness in Ireland has once again hit a record high with latest government figures showing that 11,632 people were living in emergency accommodation in December. 

It is the sixth consecutive month that the record number has been broken.

A total of 8,190 adults and 3,442 children were living in emergency accommodation during the week of 19 to 25 December. 

This is a rise from 11,542 people recorded as living in emergency accommodation in November. 

The figure from December includes 4,971 Irish citizens, 1,826 European Economic Area / UK citizens and 1,393 non-EEA citizens. 

The 11,632 people living in emergency accommodation in December 2022 compared to 8,917 people living in emergency accommodation in the previous December, a 26% increase over the course of a year. 

The 3,442 children in emergency accommodation last month compares with 3,442 children in emergency accommodation in December 2021, a 33% increase. 

Focus Ireland has called these figures “shameful” and said that they should impel the Government to take far more urgent and effective action before the crisis deepens even further.

Dublin Simon Community CEO Catherine Kenny, meanwhile, said the charity is “deeply frustrated” in the number of people in emergency accommodation in December. 

“This is highly unusual and concerning for December, which normally features a brief decline in numbers as people are accommodated by family and friends over the Christmas period,” Kenny said. 

Eviction ban

An eviction ban is currently in place until 1 April 2023. 

Under the legislation, all notices to quit that are issued over the period of the emergency ban will be deferred until at least the end of March 2023.

While notices to quit can still be issued to tenants while the ban is in effect, they will not be able to be evicted until after the ban ends.

However, when these evictions actually take place will be dependant on a number of factors, including the date on which the notice was served and the length of the tenancy.

This also means that notices to quit issued before the ban takes place will not go ahead until at least 1 April.

The Department has specified that there will not be a “cliff-edge” on 1 April however, with evictions after that date set to come in on a phased basis based between 1 April and 18 June, based on the date when the notice was issued and the length of the tenancy.

Focus Ireland’s CEO Pat Dennigan said that they welcomed the Government’s winter eviction ban, but added that it only allowed a “breathing space” for the Government to introduce measures that would have a more lasting impact. 

“We are now half-way through the breathing space and that the winter eviction ban creates, and we are calling on the Government to publish a progress report on how it has used this time and what it plans to put in place before the end of the current ban,” Dennigan said. 

Homeless charity Depaul is also calling on for an extension of the eviction ban.

“A critical time is approaching and Depaul is calling for a short extension of the eviction ban to allow for breathing space to put specific plans in place to target tenancies subject to a notice to quit,” Depaul chief executive David Carroll said. 

“Housing pressures are relentless and landlords who have signaled a notice to quit must be targeted in an effort to keep property owners in the market or to sell them to housing bodies,” Carroll said. 

“To see a meaningful reduction in homelessness, and to anticipate the rise in homelessness that may come about as a result of the eviction ban ending, housing allocations for 2023 should prioritise families currently experiencing long-term homelessness – temporary accommodation is not the solution.”

Citywest closure 

Homeless services in Dublin have been preparing over the past week for the potential fallout of the closure of the Citywest Transit Hub closed to new arrivals.

While the Citywest is closed to new arrivals, it will remain open for all other matters, including processing of accommodation for Ukrainian Beneficiaries of Temporary Protection.

The International Protection Accommodation Service will also continue to provide accommodation for IP families with children.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said that any International Protection Applicants (IPAs) who are not provided with accommodation upon arrival or when applying for International Protection will have their contact details taken and be contacted as soon as accommodation becomes available.

In a statement to The Journal, the Department said IPAs “may also source their own accommodation or stay with family or friends”.

The Department confirmed today that a total of 55 international protection applicants have been left without accommodation since the closure of Citywest. 

In a statement to The Journal, the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth said: “The Department can confirm the number of international protection applicants not accommodated yesterday is 31.

“This is in addition to 24 who were not accommodated since Tuesday, for a total of 55 people not accommodated across this week.” 

The Journal reported last week that support services on the front line were monitoring the situation and preparing for the possibility of increased demand for their assistance.

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