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Charities raise concerns over inflation as over 9,000 people access emergency accomodation in February

The Department of Housing released the latest figures this afternoon.

THERE WERE OVER 9,000 people accessing emergency accommodation in February, as homeless charities say rising rents and inflation are pushing people into homelessness.

Figures released by the Department of Housing show that there were 6,825 adults who accessed emergency accommodation in the last week of February.

There was also 2,667 children who were reported as being homeless last month.

This leads to a combined total of 9,492 homeless people in February.

This is an increase of 342 on figures released by the Department of Housing for January.

Dublin Simon Community said that homeless figures are continuing to climb back to “pre-pandemic” levels and that high rents and inflation are pushing more and more people into homelessness.

“Rising rents and inflation are pushing more and more people into homelessness and the ongoing lack of social and affordable housing means that people are spending far longer than they should in emergency accommodation,” said Pat Greene, Head of Policy & Volunteering at Dublin Simon Community.

Greene added that there were more people entering into homelessness than were leaving, saying that it was putting pressure on people’s mental health and leading to addiction relapses.

In the last six months of 2021, for every three single people entering homelessness in Dublin, only one exited to housing. The trauma which stems from this is leading to all sorts of complications from physical health issues to relapses in addiction and the decline of mental health.

“Homelessness is a trap. Once you get in, it’s incredibly difficult to get out and you lose a bit of yourself every day that you spend there, making the challenge all the more insurmountable.”

Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Communication at the Simon Communities of Ireland, said that high costs and inflation were adding to household pressures and called on Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to increase the Housing Assistance Payment

“We know that the homelessness crisis has been driven by structural issues of affordability and supply in our housing system. This has been exacerbated as growing price inflation heaps further pressure on stretched households,” said Stanley.

“Addressing these structural issues will take time but there are important actions to be taken that can help to alleviate the pressure and give additional protection to those at risk of homelessness. The rates for the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) should be increased to help support people out of homelessness.”

Focus Ireland said that the amount of landlords leaving the rental market was having a direct impact on the amount of people being made homeless.

“What’s clear is the number of landlords leaving the market is having a direct effect on the consistent increase in homeless figures over the past 6 months,” said Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan.

“The government needs to do more to ensure landlords stay in the market and as well as delivering on its commitment to build more affordable accommodation.”

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