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16 families becoming homeless every month in Dublin

Focus Ireland has said a worrying number of families are losing their homes. The charity has helped more than 9,000 homeless – or at risk of being homeless – people so far this year.

Image: Photocall Ireland

HOMELESSNESS IS A growing problem across Ireland as increasing numbers of families and individuals struggle due to the economic crisis and continuing austerity.

Charity Focus Ireland revealed today that it has seen an 18 per cent rise in the number of people seeking supports.

So far this year, it has provided assistance to 9,237 people who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. That is a jump of almost 1,500 on the corresponding figure in 2012.

Opening its annual conference this morning, the charity called for greater access to affordable housing for vulnerable families.

“We are now seeing more people at serious risk of losing their homes due to the impact of the recession and it’s highly worrying to see the numbers of families becoming homeless,” said chief executive Joyce Loughnan.

She revealed that the number of families becoming homeless in Dublin alone has doubled recently from eight to 16 per month. Most of the families were living in private rented accommodation.

“Prevention is cheaper than cure and we call for increased investment in housing advice services, such as those provided by Focus Ireland across the country, to help people at risk of homelessness deal with their problems before they lose their homes,” continued Loughnan.

Between January and October this year, more than 4,000 people sought housing advice from Focus as they were concerned about losing their homes.

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Today’s conference will look at new ways to deliver housing in a “very difficult market” where accommodation shortages are acting to push up rents and costs.

The organisation has suggested a Social Rental model which is based on schemes run in Belgium and the Netherlands. A pilot project has started in Cork where landlords can obtain a fair market and be confident that the property will be returned in good condition.

Focus has said that it has not yet gained access to any NAMA properties to provide housing solutions.

Video: Watch a group of friends help a homeless man get back home

More: Concerns about homelessness raised after body found in Bray car park

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