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Homelessness record broken again as 11,754 people in emergency accommodation in January

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

THE NUMBER OF people experiencing homelessness in Ireland has once again hit a record high with latest government figures showing that 11,754 people were living in emergency accommodation in January. 

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

A total of 8,323 adults and 3,431 children were living in emergency accommodation during the week of 23 to 29 January.

This is a rise from 11,632 people recorded as living in emergency accommodation in November. 

The figure from December includes 5,042 Irish citizens, 1,840 European Economic Area / UK citizens and 1,441 non-EEA citizens. 

The 11,754 people living in emergency accommodation in January 2023 compared to 9,150 people living in emergency accommodation in the previous January, a 25% increase over the course of a year. 

The Dublin Simon Community said it is “deeply worried” about the increase in the number of people staying in emergency accommodation. 

“Behind the statistics are real people. Through no fault of their own, they are unable to afford to rent, and unable to afford to buy a home. They cannot move forward with their lives and the lives of their families,” Dublin Simon Community CEO Catherine Kenny said.

“Single people are significantly impacted, with a limited amount of suitable one and two bed properties for them to rent or purchase,” Kenny said.

“Ireland is an economic success story, yet there are far too many people who do not have homes of their own. It is little wonder that so many feel powerless and disenfranchised.”

Eviction ban

An eviction ban is currently in place until 1 April 2023. 

Under the legislation, all notices to quit that are issued over the period of the emergency ban will be deferred until at least the end of March 2023.

While notices to quit can still be issued to tenants while the ban is in effect, they will not be able to be evicted until after the ban ends.

However, when these evictions actually take place will be dependant on a number of factors, including the date on which the notice was served and the length of the tenancy.

This also means that notices to quit issued before the ban takes place will not go ahead until at least 1 April.

Speaking about the Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he sought the views of his members on the eviction ban and whether it should be extended past March. 

“There was a diversity of views,” he said, adding “it’s not a black and white decision to extend or not to extend. There are other things at play as well”.

“We will make a decision, as I said in the Dáil within the next week or two, so that people know where they stand on the matter.”

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan has said it is “essential” the eviction ban is extended. 

“The introduction of the winter eviction ban last October was essential. At the time all emergency homeless accommodation was full and over 1,000 households faced eviction by landlords wanting to sell up,” Dennigan said. 

“Both those conditions still exist so it is essential that the ban be continued to avoid an additional surge in family homelessness,” he said.

“It is wrong to say, as some have claimed, that the winter eviction ban has failed, the situation would be far worse without it and will rapidly become worse if it is ended. What has failed is the Government’s attempts to use the breathing space to make a real difference.” 

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