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Thursday 23 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# Housing Crisis
Homelessness record broken again as 11,542 people in emergency accommodation in November
The CEO of Dublin Simon Community said that the figures convey “nothing short of a tragedy.”

THE NUMBER OF people experiencing homelessness in Ireland has once again hit a record high with latest government figures showing that 11,542 people were living in emergency accommodation in November. 

It is the fifth consecutive month that the record number has been broken.

A total of 5,423 single adults, 1,371 young people and 3,494 children were living in emergency accommodation between 21 and 27 November. 

It means that 145 more people were living in emergency accommodation in November of last year than the previous month. The figures also represent a 26.85% increase in homelessness compared to the same time period last year. 

There was also a record high number of young people, aged 18-24, in emergency accommodation in November. 

Simon Communities of Ireland Executive Director Wayne Stanley said that the government’s decision to introduce a moratorium on evictions over winter was an “important step”, but that unless more secure accommodation can be provided throughout 2023, Ireland may face ongoing extensions and renewals of the eviction ban. 

Stanley warned that this would not be a “long-term solution”, and added that Ireland needs to see “innovation” in housing provision this year, including driving forward with the focus on rapid build homes. 

“It is timely to reflect that 11,542 people living in emergency accommodation only a year ago seemed unthinkable,” he said.

“2023 needs to be a year of delivery for those at the sharpest end of the ongoing housing crisis or we will see the unthinkable surpassed and redefined each month.” 

He  also called on the government to insert a right to housing into the Irish constitution.


In Dublin, 1,134 families were in emergency accommodation in November, including 2,549 children. 

The CEO of Dublin Simon Community Catherine Kenny said that they are “dismayed” to see that, for a seventh month in a row, “we have broken the record for the highest number of people ever recorded in homelessness in the capital”.

“These spiralling figures convey nothing short of a tragedy,” she added. 

Kenny further noted that these figures do not include those sleeping rough, staying in domestic violence refuges or the hidden homeless population. 

She said that it is especially concerning to see an older cohort of people presenting to emergency accommodation services in Dublin. 

“In the last 12 months, the number of people aged 65 and older entering into emergency accommodation has grown by 36%. Over the same period, the number of people aged between 45 and 64 entering into emergency accommodation has grown by 25%.

“Their fear is palpable as they try to cope with the stark reality of becoming homeless in older age, and are faced with navigating a very complex system. As we enter into a new year, many will worry what will become of them,” she said. 

Kenny called on the government to take radical action to tackle the homelessness crisis, adding that it is “simply unacceptable in a first world country with a successful economy”.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said that while the charity welcomed commitments to address the homelessness crisis, “we need to see those words turned into urgent action”.

“2,706 new build social homes were delivered between January and September 2022, and while final figures for 2022 will not be released until March, Minister O’Brien has said that most newly built social homes were completed towards the end of 2023.

“The minister has indicated that last year more social homes were built than for very many years, which would mean that local authorities could be allocating upwards of 3,000 new social homes over the next few months,” he said. 

Dennigan said that the onus is on the Government to ensure that these homes are allocated in a way that creates a fair balance between the families who have spent years on the waiting list living in unsuitable conditions, and those who are trapped in homelessness, but have not been registered for so long.

‘We can no longer rely on the private sector’

Analysis by Focus Ireland suggests that the current winter eviction ban will have a much more limited impact on homelessness than the Covid-19 eviction ban, which saw figures drop almost 20%. 

Dennigan explained that this is because during the Covid-19 eviction ban, as well as fewer families becoming homeless, there was an increase in families moving out of homelessness as private rental properties became available on the market. 

Focus Ireland does not expect that to see an increase in families moving out of homelessness during the winter eviction ban as “we can no longer rely on private sector to provide a route out of homelessness”.

Dennigan stressed the importance that this places on new social housing units over the next few months. 

He also said that it is highly concerning that a large number of families and single families have now been in emergency accommodation for over two years. 

“This is unacceptable. It’s important to remember that when we discuss these figures we are talking about human beings struggling every day and the trauma of long-term homelessness can leave a lasting trauma long after they finally find a home,” he said. 

Dennigan said that if the eviction ban is lifted in April, we will face a wave of Spring evictions, “with no emergency accommodation available” for the people affected.  

He said that the Housing Minister needs to take measures to encourage landlords not to sell up, and that constructive engagement is needed with the over 1,000 landlords who have already issued notice of terminations, and are currently waiting for the eviction ban to lift before they sell up. 

Pat Doyle, the CEO of the Peter McVerry Trust has also called on the government to ramp up the delivery of social housing, specifically when it comes to renovating derelict and vacant properties and bringing them back into use. 

“Peter McVerry Trust is committed to expanding our Housing First programme – giving entrenched rough sleepers not only the key to their own door but also the supports they need to keep maintain and retain their tenancy. Housing First is key to the long-term reduction of homelessness.”

“We can’t afford to be downbeat or frustrated, there are too many people in need of solutions and that’s where our energy has to be focused,” he added. 

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