Number of homeless children continues to rise

Government figures show 2,777 children in emergency accommodation at the end of May

The number of homeless children has continued to rise, despite the accelerated efforts of authorities to address the situation. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The number of homeless children has continued to rise, despite the accelerated efforts of authorities to address the situation. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

The number of homeless children has continued to rise, latest figures show, despite the accelerated efforts of authorities to address the situation.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show there were 2,777 children, in 1,312 families, living in emergency accommodation across the State during the week of May 22nd to 28th.

In Dublin, there were 2,266 children, in 1,099 families, in emergency accommodation. Some 647 of Dublin’s homeless families were living in commercial hotels.

These figures compare with the 2,708 children, in 1,302 families, who were living in emergency accommodation across the State at the end of April, including 2,262 children, in 1,091 families, who were homeless in Dublin.

Some 750 families were living in commercial hotels in Dublin by the end of April.

The increases come just before the July 1st deadline to move all homeless families out of commercial hotels, which had been set by the former minister for housing Simon Coveney.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy abandoned this target within days of taking office.

Unacceptable

Mr Murphy said that “the important thing . . . was that we got the work done, that we brought the resources to bear”, referring to the provision of 15 “family hubs” – which provide cooking and other facilities for the homeless – across Dublin.

However, homeless charities have described the continued increases as “unacceptable” and have called for “more aggressive”solutions.

Roughan Mac Namara, advocacy manager with Focus Ireland, said that despite hopes that homeless numbers were stabilising at the beginning of 2017, “unfortunately, now it’s clear the numbers are only going up.

“Minister Murphy needs to indicate some big ideas on preventing families becoming homeless, such as stopping the eviction of tenants of buy-to-lets when their homes are repossessed.”

June Tinsley, head of advocacy with Barnardos, said: “Being homeless has a profound effect on children’s health, well-being, development and life potential. A more aggressive approach is required to tackle the ever-deepening housing crisis.

“These figures also do not reflect the number of ‘hidden homeless’ families who do not appear on the official register.

“Thousands of families in Ireland are living in overcrowded, substandard or unsafe accommodation because they have no other options.”

Niamh Randall, spokeswoman for the Simon Communities, said the numbers were “unacceptable”.