Number of homeless in State reaches 11,988, latest figures show

Some 1,639 families living in homeless accommodation, more than half of which are single-parent families

The number of homeless people in the State living in emergency accommodation has increased to 11,988, latest figures show.

The figures show some 8,516 adults and 3,472 children were in emergency accommodation last month, such as hostels, family hubs, hotel rooms or bed and breakfasts.

This is an increase of 246 on the number of people recorded as homeless by local authorities the previous month.

The figures show the number of people recorded as homeless has increased by more than a fifth in the last year.


Around two thirds of adults in emergency accommodation were men, according to the count taken during the week of March 20th to 26th.

There were 1,639 families living in homeless accommodation, more than half of which were single-parent families.

The Government decided against extending an eviction ban last month, which meant evictions resumed on a staggered basis from April 1st. Opposition politicians and housing organisations have warned the decision will lead to an increase in people being evicted into homelessness.

Organisations working with people facing homelessness warn emergency accommodation is full, leaving the system unable to cope with any significant increase in people or families presenting as homeless.

Pat Dennigan, chief executive of homeless charity Focus Ireland, said the impact of the lifting of the eviction ban was yet to be seen in the numbers reported as homeless.

The charity said it had been receiving calls and emails every day from “terrified” people who were facing eviction.

“One retired civil servant contacted us for help as she is facing eviction and terrified. We are working to support her, and she is just one of the many people contacting us,” he said.

Nearly three quarters of those in emergency accommodation were based in Dublin.

More than 1,000 people aged between 18 and 24 were living in emergency accommodation, 17 per cent of all adults recorded as homeless last month.

There were 175 people aged 65 or older among those without homes, while the majority of homeless adults were aged between 25 and 44.

Some 60 per cent of adults in emergency accommodation were Irish, while 22 per cent were from elsewhere in Europe or the UK, and 18 per cent were originally from outside the European Economic Area.

David Carroll, chief executive housing charity Depaul, said a car or a tent “should not never be considered an option” for people facing homelessness, particularly for families with children.

“There is a significant rise in referrals of single men who are working who have been asked to leave their property due to the landlord selling up,” he added.

More social housing needed to be “ring-fenced” for people who were “languishing” in emergency accommodation, Catherine Kenny, chief executive of Dublin Simon Community said.

“The prolonged wait time for a person to exit emergency accommodation into affordable or social housing is completely unacceptable,” she said.

People were being left living in accommodation with “inadequate facilities” to cook, wash clothes, or rest, which was impacting their mental and physical health, she said.

There were twice as many families falling into homelessness in Dublin than leaving emergency accommodation last month, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).

In a separate report, published on Friday, the DRHE, who co-ordinate homeless services across the four Dublin councils, said 84 new families became homeless in March.

The report said in 21 per cent of cases the families became homeless after being evicted from a rental property. While in more than a third of cases they were left homeless as a result of a relationship breakdown with their family or partner.

The State agency said 32 families had exited emergency accommodation, with 21 of the cohort moved into social housing.

Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the figures showed a “significant increase” in all cohorts of homelessness and urged the Government to reinstate a moratorium on evictions.

Cian O’Callaghan, Social Democrats housing spokesman, similarly called for the ban on no-fault evictions to be reinstated, adding it was “never too late to reverse a bad decision”.

There were 11,742 people recorded as homeless in the month of February, which included 3,373 children.

There were also more than 80 people recorded as sleeping rough in March, according to a count published by the DRHE last week.

The department figures do not include the more than 500 asylum seekers the State has been unable to accommodate since their arrival into the country this year, many of whom have been left sleeping rough on the streets.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times