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Homelessness: Record high 10,568 people in emergency accommodation last month

In total, there were 7,431 adults accessing emergency accommodation in the last week of July.

A tent on Grafton Street in May
A tent on Grafton Street in May
Image: Leah Farrell

Updated Aug 26th 2022, 8:09 PM

TTHE NUMBER OF homeless people in Ireland hit record figures last month, with over 10,500 people accessing emergency accommodation.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 10,568 people accessing emergency accommodation in the last week of July, surpassing the previous record of October 2019.

This is a slight increase compared to June, where 10,492 people were recorded as homeless.

July is the seventh consecutive month where the number of people accessing emergency accommodation has risen.

In total, there were 7,431 adults who accessed emergency accommodation in the last week of July. Of those, 4,771 were male and 2,660 were female.

A majority of those people were located in Dublin, with 5,209 homeless adults reported last month.

There were also 3,137 children recorded as accessing emergency accommodation.

Charities have expressed serious concern at the record level of homelessness across the country.

“We are extremely distressed by the ongoing rise in the number of people presenting in emergency accommodation,” said Caoimhe O’Connell, spokesperson for Dublin Simon.

“Last month, we broke a record we never wanted to reach in Dublin and now, devastatingly, the same has happened at a national level. In our fifty years of providing homeless services, the situation has never been this bleak or urgent.”

O’Connell called on the Government to work with Dublin Simon and other non-governmental organisations on a crisis plan to address the homelessness emergency.

David Carroll, chief executive of Depaul, who provide homelessness services across Ireland, said that there needed to be a “renewed focus” on social and affordable housing for single people.

“Single people are some of the most vulnerable we meet coming through the doors of our services and are the ones who find it the hardest to access long-term accommodation,” Carroll said.

“Significant planning and investment in one bed units is required as part of the development of private and social housing developments to break the cycle.”

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin hit out at Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien for the record levels of homelessness, saying that the Government was “directly responsible”.

“Policies pursued by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien and his Government are directly responsible for these record levels of homelessness,” Ó Broin said.

He called for O’Brien to make a statement on how the Government will address the “relentless rise in homelessness”, with Ó Broin adding that an eviction ban must be put in place alongside an acceleration of the social housing programme.

Labour’s Housing spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan said that the current situation was “a national shame”.

“It is a national shame at a time of rising cost of living we also have record levels of people and families without a home. It is not right and more needs to be done. We have the resources but not the political will and that needs to change,” Moynihan said.

“We need to do everything we can to protect people from falling into homelessness in the first place. Government must get real and stop seeing housing as a commodity. Housing is a human right.”

Like Ó Broin, Moynihan called for a ban on evictions as well as a temporary rent freeze.

Cian O’Callaghan, Housing spokesperson for the Social Democrats said that there are “shattered” lives behind today’s homelessness figures.

“Behind these grim statistics are lives that have been shattered by a broken system,” O’Callaghan said.

“When it comes to housing, the Government is completely out of touch. The Government talks about ending homelessness by 2030, but they have no plan, no strategy, no milestones – and the numbers are going up, not down.”

He added that current figures do not take account of people who were currently “sleeping on the street, in tents, on floors and in cars” or those in shelters fleeing domestic violence.

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Tadgh McNally

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