Homelessness figures continue to climb to record-highs

Figures from the Department of Housing reveal there were 10,975 people experiencing homelessness in September
Homelessness figures continue to climb to record-highs

Muireann Duffy

The number of people experiencing homelessness in the State has increased to a new record, with 10,975 people noted as homeless in September.

The latest data from the Department of Housing showed the total figure included 3,342 dependant children and 7,633 adults.

Dublin had the highest volume of homeless adults (5,356), followed by the south-west region (565) and mid-east (421). The south-west covers Cork and Kerry, while the mid-east region is made up of Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath.

Men accounted for 63 per cent of the adults experiencing homelessness, while those aged 25-44 made up 54 per cent of the overall figure.

Just under two thirds of homeless over 18s were Irish citizens, 22 per cent were from the UK/European Economic Area (EEA), and 16 per cent were non-EEA.

There were 1,532 families included in September's homelessness data, of which 565 were single-parent families.

The Simon Communities of Ireland said the data is a "shocking confirmation of the need for the moratorium on eviction" which was announced by the Government last week.

Vacant accommodation

The charity has called on officials to focus on the State's 166,000 vacant homes identified in the most recent Census in order to add to the housing stock.

"We have around 120,000 people in need of social housing between those on the social housing waiting list and people in HAP and Rent Supplement tenancies," Wayne Stanley from the Simon Community said.

"If the Repair and Lease Scheme is overhauled and enhanced to bring just 3 per cent of vacant homes into the public housing system over the next two years, this would give us an additional 5,000 homes to be allocated to those that require them, in addition to those committed to in Housing for All."

Focus Ireland argued that despite the increases, the department's figures do not reflect the true depth of the State homelessness crisis as the shortage of emergency accommodation "essentially sets a ceiling on the official figures" while there continues to be a growing number of 'hidden homeless'.

"It's a reality that the monthly homeless figures are now a reflection of people only in emergency accommodation, the actual number of people homeless is in fact considerably higher," Focus Ireland's chief executive Pat Dennigan said.

"More social and affordable housing is the long-term solution but in the short term we immediately need more emergency accommodation as homeless services such as Focus Ireland’s frontline team are being stretched to their maximum capacity.

"The prospect is looking increasingly grim this winter unless there is an urgent response to avoid more trauma for families across the country," Mr Dennigan added.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more