Leon Farrell/

Number of homeless families and children reaches new record high

A rough sleeper count for Dublin found 138 adults sleeping on the street.

Updated at 8.15pm

THERE WERE over 2,500 homeless children living in emergency accommodation last month.

Latest figures from the Housing Department show that there were 1,256 families homeless in Ireland in March, a rise of 32% since last year, and up 17 families on the previous month.

The number of single homeless adults also rose from 4,875 in February to 4,909 last month.

Commenting on the figures, Housing Minister Simon Coveney said they were a “stark indicator of the challenges we face as we remain focussed and determined to address this problem”.

He pointed to measures being taken to reduce the number of homeless people.

Homelessness charity Focus Ireland called for the Government to publish a strategy to deal with the issue of family homelessness specifically.

Rough sleepers

Rough sleeper figures for Dublin were also released today. They showed 138 homeless people sleeping rough in Dublin on a single night this month, an increase in over 30% since last year.

The spring rough sleeper count for the Dublin region was carried out on the night of 4 April and the morning of 5 April.

The count found a total of 138 people sleeping rough in this period. Of these, the majority (72%) were discovered within the Dublin City area (north and south).

The remaining 28% were found in Dublin’s other local areas: Fingal, South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire.

Rough sleeper counts are carried out by officials working on behalf of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive (DRHE) twice a year. One count is carried out in spring and the other in winter.

The DRHE manages homeless services for the entirety of Dublin.

The latest count shows a drop of four people since the winter count, which took place in November.

It is up by 30% on last year’s spring count, during which 102 people were found to be sleeping rough.

The highest single count of rough sleepers in recent times occurred in winter 2014, when 168 people were found to be sleeping rough on the streets of Dublin.

The DRHE said it was working with Dublin City Council to bring another 150 emergency hostel beds on stream in the city for homeless people.

The council said it had housed 150 single persons in DCC rented accommodation in 2016 and 42 in the first quarter of 2017.


Of the 138 rough sleepers, 85 had previously accessed homeless services. Seven people had never accessed services and not enough info was available for the remaining 46 people.

85 of the people were Irish nationals, 13 were non-Irish. The nationalities of the remaining 40 could not be identified.

On top of the people sleeping rough outside on the night of the count, an additional 57 people slept in the Merchant’s Quay Night Café.

The Night Café provides mats on the floor for people to sleep, as well as support services.

Taking into account this figure, the total number of people counted without beds for the night in Dublin was 195. The Night Café first opened in January, 2015.

There were also 186 placements for beds in emergency hostels made through Homeless Freephone and Dublin’s Housing First on the night of the count.

The Housing First is made up of workers from charities the Peter McVerry trust and Focus Ireland and funded by the DRHE. Part of its work is to liaise with rough sleepers in Dublin on a regular basis, sourcing beds for them and maintaining a level of contact.

“Unique group”

The DRHE also said that a “unique group” of individuals who had arrived in Dublin in recent weeks from Romania were encountered on the night of the count.

The people had arrived here either seeking employment or having been promised work.

Half of this group have been repatriated to Romania since the night of the count.

The rough sleeper count has been carried out under the jurisdiction of the DRHE since 2007.

Read: Transplant patient was homeless and living in his car on Killiney Hill before being hospitalised

Read: ‘My life is being ruined’: Young homeless woman living in a tent on the Grand Canal

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