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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: -1°C

Homelessness record broken again as 12,847 people in emergency accommodation in July

There were 3,829 children, and 9,018 adults in emergency accommodation last month.

LAST UPDATE | Aug 25th 2023, 3:51 PM

THE NUMBER OF people homeless has once again reached a record high, with 12,847 people accessing emergency accommodation in July.

Figures from the Department of Housing detail how there were 3,829 children and 9,018 adults in emergency accommodation last month.

The figures are an increase of 247 compared to June, where there were 12,600 people in emergency accommodation.

“The summer is meant to be a carefree time for youngsters, but this year a rising number of children are dealing with the trauma caused by homelessness,” Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan.

“We are working with the State to support these children, but it is still the reality that many will soon return to school from emergency accommodation such as hotels and family hubs,” Dennigan said.

“It is wrong that this is happening. As a society we must move beyond acknowledging that it is ‘disappointing’ that this is happening and very strongly agree that not only is it unacceptable but that more can – and must – be done,” he said.

Dennigan claimed that the Government is “not using anywhere near enough of the new social housing supply coming on stream to drive down homelessness”.

Wayne Stanley, the executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, has said the Government has “two clear opportunities over the coming weeks to take some of the steps required to meet their commitment to address homelessness by 2030″.

“One measure is setting new targets for public housing provision and providing the necessary funding in the upcoming budget to meet them,” Stanley said.

“Another is bringing forward an amendment to insert the right to housing into the Irish constitution. The Housing Commission is reported to have completed its work in this area, so the Government is in a position to bring forward this amendment,” he said.

“These two actions in tandem can be a catalyst for the progress on homelessness that is so desperately needed.”

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said the key response to tackling homelessness has to be “supply”. 

“The key issue is for those on the homeless list, we’ve got to make their time in emergency housing as short as we possibly can,” Martin said. 

“There is huge progress being made in house construction, house commencements, and ultimately all direction has to be on getting more supply into the market,” he said. 

Martin said it is “very disappointing that the figures are as they are, but from a policy perspective we’re doing the right things in terms of focusing on supply”. 

Eviction ban

The eviction ban to prevent tenants from being evicted during the winter if their landlords wanted to sell the property or have relatives move in was lifted in March.

Tenants who stopped paying rent could still be evicted as this did not qualify as a no-fault eviction.

Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan has said that the temporary ban on no-fault evictions “was working”.

“It resulted in the first fall in homelessness in over a year until the Government made their disastrous decision to scrap the ban,” O’Callaghan said.

“I am again calling on the Minister for Housing to immediately reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions in order to protect people from the trauma of becoming homeless.”

Michéal Martin told reporters today that he thinks reintroducing the eviction ban this winter “would do more harm than good”.

“I think the pressing issue is to … slow down the exodus from the rental market,” the Tánaiste said. 

“There’s no point in … taking a policy position like that which in our view would undermine, over the next number of years, the broader question of increasing supply.”

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