We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo

Housing crisis: Almost 12,000 in emergency accommodation in February, latest figures show

This is the first time in eight months where homeless figures have fallen.

LAST UPDATE | 31 Mar 2023

THE NUMBER OF people in homelessness has dropped slightly, with 11,742 people accessing emergency accommodation last month.

This is the first time in eight months that homelessness figures have dropped.

It comes as the Government’s winter eviction ban is due to end tomorrow, with opposition TDs saying that homelessness will spike further following the decision to lift the ban.

Figures from the Department of Housing detail how there were 8,369 adults and 3,373 children in emergency accommodation last month.

The figures are a drop of 12 compared to last month, where there were 11,754 people in emergency accommodation.

Political reaction 

Sinn Féin has stated that the slight drop in homelessness figures indicates that the Government’s eviction ban “was working”, and called for the decision to lift it to be reversed. 

Eoin Ó Broin, the party’s spokesperson on housing, said: “What these figures show is that the ban on no fault evictions was having a positive impact, stabilising the number of people in emergency accommodation.

“Despite this, the government is determined to end this crucial protection for renters today. 

“Thousands of households are now at risk of losing the roof over their heads and the government still cannot answer one simple question – where are people to go?” 

Labour Leader, Ivana Bacik said that the levels of homelessness in the country are “shameful”. 

Bacik further said that plans “cobbled together” by the Government to protecter renters “at the 11th hour” are “doomed to fail”. 

She was referencing plans to give renters first refusal to purchase their rented home if they are facing eviction, which would be similar to a scheme operated in France. 

“As responses to Parliamentary Questions put down by me reveal, Government has no plan in place for this measure and, even if they did, the majority of renters are simply not in a position to purchase a home given the astronomical rents they are being charged,” Bacik said. 

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan said that today’s figures showed that homelessness levels in Ireland had “finally stabilised” after 13 months of increases. 

“Homeless services are operating beyond capacity, rents are skyrocketing and there are thousands of people competing for a handful of rental properties around the country.

“The eviction ban must be extended or there will be a further spike in people becoming homeless,” he said. 

Frontline services call for eviction ban to be extended

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said that the slight decline in homeless figures shows that the eviction ban worked.

“While a reduction of 12 people in emergency accommodation in the context of almost 12,000 is small, it is incredibly welcome,” he said.

“What these figures suggest is that the moratorium, was doing its work, particularly for families, and keeping people out of homelessness.

“Unfortunately, it’s ending today but had it continued and the State taken action to step up initiatives to prevent and address homelessness, there was the potential to make some real and sustained progress.”

The CEO of Dublin Simon Community, Catherine Kenny claimed the monthly figure would “swell rapidly” from today after the eviction moratorium is lifted.

“8,588 people found themselves in emergency accommodation in Dublin in February, and that number is set to swell rapidly from today,” she said.

“We are at a tipping point in our national history. How we approach the months ahead will determine our cultural attitudes and commitment to solving and addressing homelessness.”

She added that issues with the delivery of housing had left thousands of people homeless, and said that homelessness should “never be the accepted outcome of eviction”.

Focus Ireland also pointed to the lifting of the eviction ban as a failure, saying that homeless services would continue to struggle to cope with rising homelessness as a result.

“Nothing has changed since the eviction ban was introduced since November and lifting it will do nothing to allay fears for landlords as they are selling up in vast numbers because of high taxation and market uncertainty,” a spokesperson for the charity said.

“We expect to see more terminations from landlords who have been unsettled by the Government’s stop-start approach to this issue.”

-Additional reporting by Eimer McAuley. 

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel