Almost 12,000 people experiencing homelessness in Ireland as new record reached

April 28, 2023 01:42 PM AEST | By PAMEDIA
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A total of 11,988 people accessed emergency accommodation in March, the highest level ever recorded by the Department of Housing.

The total is a 2.1% increase on March, with homelessness rising while the temporary ban on no-fault evictions was still in effect.

There were 5,823 single adults and 1,639 families accessing emergency accommodation in the month, including 3,472 children.

The Department said there was a 15% year-on-year increase in the number of adults and their dependents who either left emergency accommodation or avoided entering it in the quarter.

It said it had housed 871 “high-support need” people, which includes former rough sleepers or long-term users of emergency accommodation, through the Housing First Scheme.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the increase in people accessing emergency accommodation was “unfortunate”.

“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. Tackling this issue is a Government priority.

“We know that increasing the supply of new homes, particularly social and affordable homes, is key to tackling homelessness.

“Supply is increasing and we are going in the right direction, as seen from record Completion and Commencement Notices divs for the first quarter of 2023.

He added: “In addition to our focus on increasing supply, I have introduced a number of measures to help those at risk of homelessness following the phasing out of the winter eviction moratorium.

“These include introducing 1,000 additional targeted leasing units, securing at least 1,500 tenant in situ purchases in 2023 and expanding emergency accommodation by adding 2,000 new beds.”

Wayne Stanley, executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said the divs were “deeply upsetting”.

“The moratorium on evictions slowed entries into homelessness during the winter months, so we know this shocking number of 11,988 men, women and children in homeless emergency accommodation may have been even higher had the moratorium 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.

“We know there is potential in the Tenant In-Situ scheme as a prevention measure and a commitment to see it ramped up. In addition to that, we need to see more homes secured and allocated to those experiencing the trauma of homelessness.

“We know that some of this work is taking place and that is welcome, but Government action on homelessness has to be judged on results and these divs are evidence that not enough is being done.”


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