Homeless figures hit new record with more than 4,000 children in emergency accommodation

Latest figures show more than 13,500 people in emergency beds in November

In October, there were 3,991 dependent children recorded in emergency accommodation. Photograph: Alan Betson

The number of homeless children has surpassed 4,000 for the first time, as representatives said the growing crisis is causing “preventable trauma” and will have a lifelong impact on these young people.

On Friday, the Department of Housing published statistics for November which showed the number of homeless people reached a new record high.

There were 9,409 adults and 4,105 children accessing emergency accommodation on the week of November 20th to 26th.

The number of homeless children is 17 per cent higher than it was during the same month in 2022. In October, there were 3,991 dependent children recorded in emergency accommodation.


A total of 65 per cent of adults in homelessness were single adults, with 4,989 (53 per cent) of those aged 25 to 44. There were 2,000 families accessing emergency accommodation, of which 57 per cent were single parent families.

Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, said even one experience of being homeless has “an extremely destabilising effect on a child, often for the rest of their lives”.

“One of the things they suffer from are emotional issues. They are more likely to not be as emotionally resilient and if they don’t get the right psychological supports, they can go on to develop a more serious mental health condition,” she said.

“For small children what you find is they often miss developmental milestones. They might not be crawling or doing or playing with toys in the same way as other children.” She added that younger children are often kept out of creche so parents can keep bringing older children to school.

Barnardos children’s charity said it is “deeply concerned” the number of homeless children has increased again.

“Today’s figures show that more than 100 additional children entered emergency accommodation in November, and more than 600 over the past year. That’s 600 more children often forced to move away from their homes, communities, friends, family and schools,” it added.

There was also an increase in the number of people sleeping rough in the capital in November. The total number of unique individuals engaged with outreach teams in one week was 118, which represents an increase of 27 persons (30 per cent) on the same period last year.

Wayne Stanley, executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said each person in homelessness is “experiencing a preventable trauma”.

Pat Dennigan, chief executive of Focus Ireland, said “not only were there more children homeless than ever before, but more of them were also homeless for longer, increasing the harm that homelessness can cause”.

Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eóin Ó Broin said the Government “has broken all records for officially recognised homelessness”, while Labour’s Ivana Bacik called for the government to “turn the tide on this national scandal”.

Social Democrats housing spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan called for “a permanent ban on no-fault evictions. This would significantly reduce the number of children growing up without a home”.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said supporting households experiencing homelessness is a “top priority for me and for this Government but it is clear the situation is challenging and complex”.

“My Department is working flat out to meet this challenge and liaising closely with the local authorities and the homelessness NGOs to support households to exit homelessness to a tenancy,” he said.

“This work is having an impact and we are seeing significant numbers of households being prevented from entering emergency accommodation in the first instance.”

Separately, 457 international protection applicants are still awaiting an offer of accommodation from the State, according to the latest figures released by the Department of Integration on Friday.

In recent months, the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), has struggled to provide beds for asylum seekers arriving in the country due to a “severe shortage” in accommodation.

Since December 4th, 593 male applicants have arrived into the country. Of those, 523 were not initially offered accommodation. A total of 66 were then provided with accommodation, leaving 457 people experiencing homelessness.

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Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is Health Correspondent of The Irish Times

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times