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Homelessness hits record high again as 12,259 people in emergency accommodation in April

The figure includes 3,594 children.

LAST UPDATE | 26 May 2023

THE NUMBER OF people homeless has reached a record high for the second month in a row, with 12,259 accessing emergency accommodation in April 2023.

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

There has been a 22% increase in homelessness in the last year.

5,452 (63%) of the homeless adults in April were male and 3,213 were female.

Dublin by far has the highest number of people seeking emergency accommodation, with 6,288.

The south west accounts for 559 of the homeless people.

No child should be growing up homeless.

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said he is “not surprised” by the record-breaking figure, “but we have to be shocked that the situation has been allowed to get to this point”.

“The almost 6% increase in family and children in homeless emergency accomondation is particularly concerning,” he said.

“While we have to acknowledge important initiatives taken by Government and rolled out by local authorities, such as the tenant in situ scheme, we also have to recognise that this is a policy made crisis.”

David Carroll, the chief executive of Depaul, said today: “People are being forced to spend longer in temporary accommodation than they should because of the crisis that already exists. We are going to quickly see a population of people ageing prematurely and presenting with deteriorating health conditions. The impact on children in temporary accommodation is particularly concerning.

“What the figures don’t show is that those who are in emergency accommodation are struggling and just holding on,” Carroll said.

“The increase in the numbers clearly shows that the removal of the eviction ban has had a significant impact. We are incredibly concerned that the lack of housing options will increase homelessness even further.

“If in three or four months we don’t have it right, we will experience more street homelessness, drug use and families in crisis.”

Some 962 one-parent families are living in emergency this month, up 64 or 7%, since March.

Karen Kiernan, the CEO of One Family, a charity which advocates for single parents, said: “Families are under incredible mental stress, whether they have already been forced into homelessness or are facing the looming threat of eviction. Parents are at breaking point trying to maintain normal lives for their children.

“Childhoods are being blighted as children struggle to cope with parental stress and the reality of not having a safe, secure or appropriate home.

“The worrying thing is these figures probably don’t reflect the true impact of the eviction ban as these evictions normally take a few months after notices are served to take affect.”

Political reaction

Opposition parties have also hit out at the government’s response to the housing crisis, with Sinn Féin TD Eoin O Broin telling reporters that the figures were a “grim record”.

He said that the impact of the ending of the no-fault eviction ban was only now beginning to take effect and that there would be more significant increases in homelessness into the summer months.

“The problem is that we’re only beginning to see the start of the outworkings of the ban on no-fault evictions,” O Broin said.

“Many peoples eviction notice wouldn’t have fallen due until the middle of April and therefore my big worry, and this is confirmed by what we’re seeing on the ground in the constituency offices around the country, is as we move into May, June and July we’re going to see even more significant increases.

“A question has to be asked of Darragh O’Brien and the Government: what level is unacceptable? Are we seriously saying that we continue as we are and we have a figure of 13,000 men, women and children in emergency accommodation by August or September.”

He called for the Government to “get its head out of the sand” and reintroduce the ban on no-fault evictions.

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan said that the Government is “shamefully failing our most vulnerable people”.

“In reality, Government ministers are currently debating how they could spend a projected €65bn budget surplus. This is a slap in the face to the over 12,000 people without a roof over their head.

“No child should be growing up homeless while their Government ponders what they should do with billions of euros.”

Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said the figures represented “a humanitarian crisis”.

“The government cannot keep rejecting every proposal put forward by the opposition and claiming that they have better ideas – the figures speak for themselves – the housing crisis is spiralling out of control,” he said.

Additional reporting by Tadgh McNally

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