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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C
The Housing Minister Darragh O' Brien
Housing Crisis

Homelessness record broken again as 12,441 people in emergency accommodation in May

The figures include 3,699 children.

THE NUMBER OF people homeless has once again reached a record high, with 12,441 experiencing homelessness in May 2023, a rise of 182 people compared to the previous month. 

The figure includes 3,699 children, and 8, 742 adults. 

The Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said that the increase in homelessness is “very disappointing”. 

He said the Government was continuing to work “tirelessly to try and bring these numbers down and we will do all in our power to do so”.

CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust Francis Doherty said that Ireland “badly needs to turn the corner” on getting the number of people in homelessness down. 

“The figure includes 3,594 children. 1,733 of homeless adults were in families, which is 94 more than the previous month.

“Peter McVerry Trust’s concern is that while housing output grows, the type of homes being delivered doesn’t adequately reflect the needs of people impacted by homelessness or even the main need of people on the wider social housing waiting lists,” he said. 

Doherty added that almost 50% of the people in homelessness last month needed a one bed home. 

“This week if you looked at the total number of one-bedroom homes to buy on the market on or of any type or price there are just around 600 nationally.

“So even if we bought every single one of those homes tomorrow you are only securing 10% of the homes we need to tackle the needs of single homeless people in May,” he added. 

Doherty said that whilst the State is spending “enormous amounts on housing” through the private sector, the LDA, local authorities and housing bodies, it needs to ensures that these schemes include an adequate number of one-bedroom homes. 

The Dublin Simon Community said that today’s figures represent a 23% rise in homelessness over the last 12 months. 

CEO Catherine Kenny said that one night in June, 25% of Dublin Simon’s emergency beds were occupied by workers.

“They were cleaners, event and retail security staff, taxi drivers, van drivers and lorry drivers, scaffolders, electricians and construction workers, healthcare assistants and carers, shop workers and retail staff, barbers and bar workers.  

“With the scarcity of suitable accommodation, soaring rents, the cost-of-living crisis, and notices to quit coming to the end of their term, housing insecurity is affecting workers like never before,” she said. 

Dublin Simon is calling on the Government to deliver “sustained funding for the homelessness sector” that the reflects the cost of service provision, and accounts for the surge in need. 

Government ‘not taking homeless crisis seriously’

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has said that homelessness figures are rising in the absence of an “emergency response” from the Government. 

“Rising levels of homelessness is the direct result of government’s failure to put in place an emergency response to what continues to be an ever-growing humanitarian crisis,” he said. 

Ó Broin suggested that a response should include suspending planning and procurement powers to deliver additional social and affordable housing using modular building technologies and vacant properties, accelerating the tenant-in-situ scheme, and restoring the ban on no fault evictions “until the number of adults and children in emergency accommodation starts to fall”. 

“This government is not taking this homeless crisis seriously. No Minister in modern times has presided over such a high and ever rising level of adult and child homelessness. It is clear they do not have the political will to tackle this crisis and both reduce and end long-term homelessness,” he added. 

Cian O’ Callaghan from the Soc Dems said that the homelessness figures released today are not just numbers. 

“Each person is a daughter, son, sister, brother, mother or father going through a deeply distressing ordeal.

“It beggars belief that this Government can claim they have turned the corner on housing when the number of children growing up homeless rises every month,” he said. 

O’ Callaghan said that there are an increasing amount of people entering homelessness coming from a “dysfunctional private rented sector”. 

He also called on the Minister for Housing to reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions. 

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