Homeless figures climb to record levels, reaching 11,988

The figures from the Department of Housing showed the number of single adults in homelessness has increased to a record-high of 5,736
Homeless figures climb to record levels, reaching 11,988

Muireann Duffy

The number of homeless people in the State has increased once again, topping 11,988 in March.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing showed there was 2.1 per cent monthly increase, but a 22 per cent jump annually.

There were 1,639 families who were recorded as being homeless last month, while the figure for single adults reached a record-high of 5,736.

Although the number of homeless young people aged 18-24 fell by one to 1,456 in the month, the figure was 18.4 per cent higher than March 2022.

The number of children/dependents in emergency accommodation also rose, increasing by 99 from February to March.

In a statement, the department noted these figures were collected while the ban on evictions, which lapsed on March 31st, was still in place.

The department added that the number of people who left or were prevented from entering emergency accommodation during the first three months of this year was up 15 per cent on the same period of 2022.

"The situation is very challenging, but the Government, local authorities and those in our NGO sectors are working together and making every effort to reduce homelessness," Minister for Housing Darragh O'Brien said.

"Tackling this issue is a Government priority," he added.

'Human misery'

However, a number of homelessness charities have continued their criticism of the Government for allowing the eviction ban to end, describing the latest figures are "deeply upsetting".

The Simon Communities of Ireland's chief executive Wayne Stanley said the number of people experiencing homelessness may have been even higher if the evictions ban had not been in place.

"The Government have clearly made the decision that they are not returning to an eviction ban. That decision means they have, now more than ever, a duty to ensure there are the required safety nets and solutions in place.

"Effective actions, to begin turning the tide on homelessness, have to be the priority," Mr Stanley said.

Meanwhile, Depaul reiterated the calls for urgent action to increase the State's housing stock.

"Many people are living in trepidation about what is due to come, and we can’t afford to underplay the human misery attached to this crisis," Depaul's chief executive David Carroll said.

"It's essential that newly announced housing measures are closely monitored and assessed throughout the implementation and delivery phase so that they are impactful and allow us to reduce the numbers of people who are homeless and support those who are at risk since the eviction ban has lifted," he added.

Focus Ireland added that the ending of the eviction ban, the impact of which is yet to be seen in homeless figures, has caused "widespread fear in the rental sector for all the people facing eviction and many others who are not yet at risk".

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