By Michelle Devane, PA
Homelessness in Ireland is still at “crisis levels” despite a year-on-year fall in the figures recorded, a leading homeless charity has said.
The Simon Communities of Ireland said there is “no quick fix” to end homelessness but it is important there is a commitment to do so by the Housing Minister.
The latest figures from the Department of Housing show a one per cent drop in the number of people in emergency accommodation.
A total of 7,991 men, women and children were recorded as homeless last month, down 91 on April. It includes 5,843 adults and 2,148 children.
The figure represents a year-on-year fall of almost 10 per cent. In May last year, there were 8,878 men, women and children listed as homeless.
The number of homeless single adults fell to 4,502, a 0.7 per cent drop on the previous month. But the figure is four per cent higher than in May last year when 4,325 single adults were homeless.
A total of 928 families were homeless last month, a 0.3 per cent increase on the previous month, but the figure is 24 per cent lower than in May last year.
Simon Communities of Ireland spokesman Wayne Stanley said: “In May, there were 7,991 men, women and children in homelessness.
“It’s a welcome fall year-on-year but more than twice the number in homelessness in 2014, when the then housing minister described homelessness as at crisis levels.”
He said it was also important to remember the figures “do not truly capture” the full scale of the crisis as rough sleepers and people living in squats, direct provision and women’s shelters are not included in the statistics.
“We know that many find themselves in this position due to a lack of affordable and secure accommodation. Our quarterly Locked Out report shows that this is the case in both urban and rural communities around the country,” Mr Stanley said.
“There is no quick fix to ending homelessness but it’s important we see the commitment to work towards ending homelessness reflected in the minister’s housing and homeless plan next month.
“The recent ESRI report, which called for a doubling of the States’ investment in public housing, is a good benchmark of the ambition required and we hope the minister in his plan and the government in the upcoming budget, will meet that.”