Number of Dublin families homeless for over two years doubles

Total of 1,037 families living in emergency accommodation in June, latest figures show

 

The number of families in Dublin who have been homeless for more than two years has doubled in the space of eight months, new figures show.

Underlining the ongoing difficulties for families in exiting homelessness, figures from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) show of the 1,037 families in emergency accommodation on June 2nd, 54 (5 per cent) had been homeless for two years or more. A total of 133 (12.8 per cent) had been homeless for between 18 and 24 months.

Statistics published last October showed that of the 920 homeless families, 26 (2.8 per cent) had been so for two years or more and 59 (6.4 per cent) had been for between 18 and 24 months.

Resilient

The proportion homeless for more than six months has increased in the period from 558, or 61 per cent of the October total, to 661, or 63 per cent of the June total, indicating that families who do not move on from emergency accommodation within six months, are getting stuck there for longer.

Sources say the most resilient families exit homelessness more quickly, while vulnerable families that find exiting more challenging are then likely to spend longer in emergency accommodation, indicating a need for additional supports for them.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said all 647 families in commercial hotels or B&Bs at the end of May would be contacted by the end of last month with information about their “move-on options”.

He also said all, except those with particular circumstances, would be offered a place in one of 15 new “family hubs” opening across the capital.

Family hubs offer accommodation, with cooking and laundry facilities, homework clubs and play areas.

Concerns have been raised, however, by academics and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, which said “hubs” risk becoming new “institutions for the poor”. They called for a six-month time limit on families’ stay in “hubs”, while seeking housing.

Family hub

Of the 46 families that have been accommodated in the first “family hub”, opened by Respond Housing in Drumcondra on December 19th, just 12 have moved into housing. The hub was at full capacity (34 families) from March and nine families have been there for more than six months.

A spokeswoman said the DRHE was “dealing with an unprecedented demand for emergency accommodation across the Dublin region”.

“We are committed to ensuring emergency accommodation, with facilities suitable to the needs of families with dependent children . . . is provided . . . until the move on to their long-term housing option.”

In the first three months of this year, 595 adults moved from homelessness to tenancies, on par with the final quarter of last year “which had the highest number of moves to date”.