Almost 2,000 children living in Dublin emergency accommodation

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive said an increase in presentations has also be coupled with a decrease in the number of people exiting emergency accommodation in the past year.
Almost 2,000 children living in Dublin emergency accommodation

Sarah Slater

There are 1,891 children living in emergency accommodation in Dublin, recent figures show.

Data from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) reveal the overall figures for 2021 show an increase of 27 compared to the same time in 2020, while the number of families and individuals in emergency accommodation in the capital has also continued to rise,

The executive's figures show there were 802 families and 3,133 single individuals in emergency accommodation as of December 31st.

However, the December figures represent 84 fewer households and 121 fewer individuals in emergency accommodation when compared to November 2021.

When 2021 is looked at in its entirety, there were 60 more families in emergency accommodation in December compared to January and 79 more single individuals.

Exit decreases

In an email update to Dublin-based councillors, the executive's director Mary Hayes said the relatively small increase in presentations coupled with a more significant decrease in exits has contributed to the overall increase in households in emergency accommodation.

Ms Hayes explained: “We are continuing their efforts to reduce the use of commercial hotels; however, the recent increase in numbers in emergency accommodation has reversed some of the progress that had been made.

“By the end of December, there were 114 families residing in commercial hotels. In January 2021, that number was 175. This is a reduction of 61 families. The highest number was in March 2017 when the number of families in commercial hotels reached 871. In relation to the 114 families, this is broken down between contracted hotels at 23 and non-contract emergency accommodation.

“We are working with the other Local Authorities to develop alternatives to hotels with exits to housing the preferred option and contracted accommodation under a Service Level Agreement where this is required.”

Forty families entered emergency accommodation for the first time in December last year - the lowest figure for the entire year, representing a decrease of 24 on November 2021.

'Policies have failed again'

However, former Dublin lord mayor Christy Burke slammed the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien and the Government for the rise in figures.

“The increase in numbers in emergency and temporary accommodation shows that their policies have failed again. They need to stop telling us they are trying to solve the housing crisis but show us how they are addressing it,” Cllr Burke said.

Overall exits from emergency accommodation to tenancies have reduced on previous years, with just 695 family exits in 2o21 compared to 1,220 in 2020 and 1,137 in 2019. There has been a reduction in exits to all tenancy types but particularly to the Housing Assistance Payment (Hap) scheme.

Ms Hayes added: “The DRHE will be undertaking research to examine duration and exits and, in particular, to examine if factors such as ineligibility for social housing, ethnicity or large family sizes are affecting families’ ability to exit homelessness.

"There are renewed efforts across the sector to engage with landlords to encourage uptake of the Homeless Housing Assistance Payment scheme. In Dublin City Council (DCC), we have with the support of the housing SPC, directed an increased ration of social housing lettings to homeless families in the latter months to sustain the progress made in the reduction of family homelessness."

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