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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Number of homeless people living in emergency accommodation increases by 171

There were 9,698 homeless people living in emergency accommodation in September, an increase of 171 on the previous month, according to the latest figures.

Figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government show that of the almost 10,000 people who are homeless, 3,829 of these are children.

A standard emergency accommodation unit for a homeless mother and two children at Edel House in Cork

There was a 16% rise in the number of people without a home last month when compared with September 2017 when 8,374 people were homeless, according to Focus Ireland.

The charity released figures today which show that three families became homeless every day last month in Dublin, a total of 88 families with 193 children becoming newly homeless.

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Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “There is some positive news as we are managing to ensure that the number of people living in emergency accommodation is not rising as fast as it was last year. This have been achieved by the combined hard work of staff in Focus Ireland, other homeless organisations, local authorities and the DRHE.

"However, it is totally unacceptable and wrong that at the same time three families became homeless every single day in September in Dublin alone. This again shows that there will be no solution to the homeless crisis until the Government takes serious measures to prevent families losing their homes.

“Focus Ireland has repeatedly highlighted through our services and research that the main reason families are becoming homeless is that they are being evicted from their homes by private landlords due to properties being sold or repossessed.

[quote]The Government appear to be just accepting this as a natural phenomenon is can do nothing about. But in fact it can take several meaningful steps to make people more secure in their homes.[/quote]

"Much more can – and must be – done if we are to end this terrible human crisis and protect the childhoods of nearly 4,000 children currently homeless," he said.

Focus Ireland set out two actions which it suggests could be implemented immediately to reduce the number of people becoming homeless.

It says legislation should be better enforced in relation to people becoming homeless after receiving notice from their landlords.

Funding should be provided to Approved Housing Bodies and Local Authorities to purchase buy-to-let loans from vulture funds where the tenants are eligible for social housing and faced with homelessness, the charity also suggests.

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said there was "absolute chaos" in homeless services.

“What we are seeing is absolute chaos in regard to homeless services, consistent increases month on month with an overall 16% increase on last September is unsustainable," he said.

"The Minister says we are in the midst of a crisis, we have been for two years and nothing seems to be changing other than further increases. Builds are not happening quick enough and the system is overloaded.

"The Minister & Department are not acting quick enough and the over-reliance on the private sector to solve a social crisis is plummeting more and more people into homelessness. This situation is beyond a crisis and we need immediate solutions and they aren’t prevalent.”

Children's charity Barnardos drew attention to the number of children starting the new school term with nowhere to live.

June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said: “Last month, at a time when children should be preoccupied with new teachers, new classrooms and catching up with friends after summer break, for 3,829 children homelessness was weighing heavily on their shoulders.

"For the thousands of children homeless, and the thousands more worrying about becoming homeless, school can offer a welcome respite from the anxiety and uncertainty at home. Many children living in emergency accommodation find the school day becomes their only chance for normalcy, away from a hub or hotel room.

[quote]Earlier this month Barnardos welcomed some of the housing measures in the Budget 2019 announcement; but the fact remains, Government policy is not working fast enough to slow the slide of families into homelessness. The figures attest to this as the volume of families exiting homelessness (45) is far less than the number presenting as homeless (207).[/quote]

"The ongoing staggering investment to house families in hotels, B&Bs or hubs is unsustainable and institutionalises families as they are not a suitable home for a child. It is high time the Government put more preventative measures in place – such as rent indexing and security of tenure protections- to stop more children becoming homeless.”

Digital Desk