Homelessness in Ireland: New figures show impact of lifting of eviction ban

Numbers living in emergency accommodation increased by 159 last month to a record 12,600 people

The number of people recorded as homeless has increased by a fifth in the past year as new figures show the impact that ending a ban on evictions had on households falling into homelessness.

The numbers living in emergency accommodation, such as homeless hostels, family hubs, hotel rooms or bed and breakfasts, increased by 159 last month to a record 12,600 people.

New figures show that in the three months since the end of the Government ban on evictions half of the single adults who became homeless said they had been evicted from rental accommodation. The ban on no-fault evictions introduced last winter came to an end on a staggered basis from the start of April despite calls from housing campaigners and Opposition politicians to extend the measure.

Department of Housing figures show eviction from rental housing was the second most common reason families presented as homeless between April and June, behind a breakdown in a relationship or change in family circumstances.


In total a third of all households who became homeless during the three-month period had been evicted from rental accommodation, statistics published on Friday show.

Following a brief dip in the numbers of homeless in February, the number of people living in emergency accommodation has increased every month since to record new highs.

“We warned Government that ending the ban on no-fault evictions would lead to a significant month-on-month rise in eviction notices and in turn homelessness,” Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said. The Government had “refused to listen”, and the new figures now “laid bare” how rental evictions had driven the recent rise in homelessness, he told The Irish Times.

The Government has maintained that extending the moratorium on no-fault evictions earlier in the year would have made the crisis worse. Speaking to reporters in Cork, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said an “indefinite” eviction ban would have led to more landlords leaving the rental market, reducing supply.

The latest rise in homelessness was “not satisfactory”, the Fianna Fáil leader said. “We are going to have to look at how we can improve the overall environment to get more people to rent out their homes, to come into the rental market.” The rental market needed “a degree of certainty and clarity into the future”, which he said the Government hoped to provide in the upcoming budget.

Mr Martin added that the supply of both social housing and new private developments were “going very strongly” to date this year.

Department figures show a record number of 1,804 families were homeless in June, an increase of nearly a third compared to the same time last year. There were 3,765 children living in emergency accommodation, many in single-parent families.

Suzanne Connolly, chief executive of children’s charity Barnardos, said these families had been “disproportionately” impacted by the end of the Government’s temporary ban on evictions. Children were being “uprooted from their homes” into homeless accommodation, which she said was traumatising and often “wholly unsuitable and inappropriate”.

While 432 families left emergency accommodation in the first six months of this year, overall the number of homeless families increased by around 200, figures show.

Pat Dennigan, chief executive of Focus Ireland, said long periods spent homeless was doing “untold damage to families and children”.

The homelessness charity was seeing more and more families becoming “stuck” in emergency accommodation as they could not secure rental or other housing to move out into, he said. “People who are long-term homeless are too often at the back of the queue, and policies are needed to give them a fairer share of the homes that become available.”

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is acting Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times