We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File photo. Shutterstock
Emergency Accommodation

Homelessness record broken again as 13,179 people in emergency accommodation in October

The figure includes 3,911 children.

THE NUMBER OF people homeless has once again reached a record high, with 13,179 people accessing emergency accommodation in October.

According to the latest figures from the Department of Housing, 9,188 adults and 3,911 children were in emergency accommodation last month.

The figures are an increase of 352 compared to September, where there were 12,827 people in emergency accommodation.

The number of children homeless in Ireland has also reached a record high, up from 3,904 last month. 

The figures show that 1,939 accessed emergency accommodation last month, 1,107 of which were single parent families. 

Focus Ireland has said said it is “disgraceful” that almost 4,000 children are now in emergency accommodation.

Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen said: “It is heartbreaking to know that some of these children are only babies and will be spending their first ever Christmas homeless.

“Ireland is not a poor country; this should not be happening, and we must always remember that homelessness is not inevitable and can be prevented by the right policies.”

Allen said it is clear that the Housing For All strategy is “utterly insufficient to the challenges we face and that a new strategic response to family homelessness is urgently required”.

“This would address the totally disproportionate number of lone parents facing homelessness, support vulnerable children and their families while they are homeless and to provide better access to housing to help more people exit homelessness.”

The charity has called for the Government to fix a date for a referendum on a right to housing, a commitment that is contained in the Programme for Government. 

“Without a right to housing enshrined in Irish law or even referenced in strategy, individuals and families must resort to arguing tangential procedural rights to protect their fundamental right to adequate housing,” Allen continued.

“We believe a Right to Housing would help to really drive more progressive housing policy to tackle this crisis and provide a legal framework for people to challenge the lack of provision of adequate housing.”


Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said the “shocking level of homelessness” demands further action. 

“Based on the figures published today, almost 4,000 children will spend Christmas in homeless emergency accommodation. When family homelessness was declared a crisis in 2014, it was less that 1,000 children,” he said.

If the trauma of homelessness inflicted on children is not enough to ensure action to address the crisis, what will be the catalyst for change?

“The Simon Communities of Ireland has been calling for a referendum to enshrine a right to a home in the Irish Constitution. We have to ask, if that was in place, would we have such alarming levels of homelessness today?

“When this government was formed over three and a half years ago, they agreed that such a right is needed, and committed to deliver it but so far, that commitment has not been met. They must deliver on the commitment in 2024.”

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin has called for Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to “urgently set out what he intends to do to bring this crisis to an end”. 

“It is simply not acceptable for the number of adults and children forced into emergency accommodation to rise every single month,” he said.

“Government must reinstate the ban on no fault evictions in order to create the space for this emergency response to be put in place. And we need the package of measures to reduce the number of people becoming homeless and to speed up the exit of people from emergency accommodation.”

‘Monumental failure’

Social Democrats TD Cian O’Callaghan, who is the party’s housing spokesperson, has also criticised O’Brien.

“In 2019, when the number of people living in homeless accommodation surpassed 10,000, Darragh O’Brien – in his role as opposition housing spokesperson – decried that another record had been shattered by the Fine Gael Government,” he said.

“He went on to state that ‘this cannot continue’ and outlined how Fianna Fáil would fix the housing crisis.

“We are now more than three years into his term as Minister for Housing and the number of people living in emergency accommodation has grown by 52%. Shamefully, the number of children growing up without a home has increased by a staggering 50%.

“This is a monumental failure that brings with it devastating consequences. We urgently need more social homes to protect children from the trauma of growing up homeless.”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.