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Homelessness record broken again as 11,988 people in emergency accommodation in March

There were 8,516 adults and 3,472 children in emergency accommodation last month.

LAST UPDATE | 28 Apr 2023

THE NUMBER OF people in homelessness has risen to a record high, with 11,988 people accessing emergency accommodation in March. 

Figures from the Department of Housing detail how there were 8,516 adults and 3,472 children in emergency accommodation last month.

The figures are an increase of 246 compared to February, where there were 11,742 people in emergency accommodation.

February was the first time in eight months that homelessness figures had dropped.

The figures come as the Government’s winter eviction ban lapsed on 1 April. 

The Government agreed to end the ban despite outcry from opposition parties and housing organisations.

Focus Ireland today stressed that as the figures released today are those for the month of March, they do not yet reflect the impact of the lifting of the eviction ban on 1 April. 

The charity has warned that the real impact of lifting the eviction ban is yet to be felt. 

“We are getting calls and emails every day from people who are facing no fault eviction and homelessness,” Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said.

“One retired civil servant contacted us for help as she is facing eviction and terrified. We are working to support her, and she is just one of the many people contacting us,” Dennigan said. 

“How can this be allowed to happen in our society? It is disgraceful and sadly we will see more of it.”

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan said today’s figures show that “the ban on no-fault evictions is more urgently needed than ever before”. 

Depaul chief executive David Carroll said today’s figures “highlight the urgent need for the continued focus on capacity to increase delivery of housing throughout this uncertain period”. 

“Many people are living in trepidation about what is due to come and we can’t afford to underplay the human misery attached to this crisis,” Carroll said. 

“It’s essential that newly announced housing measures are closely monitored and assessed throughout the implementation and delivery phase so that they are impactful and allow us to reduce the numbers of people who are homeless and support those who are at risk since the eviction ban has lifted.”

Government ministers on Tuesday signed off on a plan to try to accelerate the building of new homes and the refurbishment of vacant ones in an update to its Housing for All strategy.

The Dublin Simon Community welcomed the plans announced this week. 

However, the charity’s CEO Catherine Kenny said: “In general terms, these are promising plans, but we are cognisant that it has proven difficult in recent years to spend available funds due to a lack of infrastructure required for implementation, along with a range of bureaucratic constraints inhibiting progress.

“We are urging Government to stay focused and to deliver real output so that we can finally turn the tide on the housing and homelessness emergency.” 

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin labelled the figures “utterly depressing”.

He added: “March was the last month in which tenants were protected by the ban on no-fault evictions.

“What these figures tell us is that levels of homelessness are going to start rising significantly from April.”

The Sinn Féin TD also said the figures underscore the need for the government to “immediately reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions”.

Quarterly Progress Report

Alongside the monthly homelessness report, the Department of Housing today published its homeless quarterly progress report for the first three months of 2023. 

The reports outlined that there were 11,988 individuals accessing emergency accommodation at the end of the first quarter of this year.

This is an increase of 356 individuals (3%) compared with the end of the previous quarter and an increase of 2,163 individuals (22%) on the total recorded at the end the first quarter of 2022.

There were 1,639 families accessing emergency accommodation at the end of the first quarter of this year, an increase of 201 families (32%) on the same quarter last year. 

During the first three months of this year, a total of 1,454 adults, as well as their dependents, left or were prevented from entering emergency accommodation by way of a tenancy being created. 

This is a decrease of 3% on the last three months of 2022 and a year-on-year increase of 15%.

“Unfortunately we have seen an increase in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation despite the winter eviction moratorium still being in effect in March,” Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said in a statement today. 

“The situation is very challenging but the Government, local authorities and those in our NGO sectors are working together and making every effort to reduce homelessness. Tackling this issue is a Government priority.”

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