Number of homeless people in State climbs to new high of 13,531, including 4,000 children

Over 1,000 male asylum seekers without accommodation, Department of Children and Integration figures show

EOY Mag Pics 2023

The number of people in emergency accommodation has climbed to a new high, standing now at 13,531 including over 4,000 children.

The latest data, published on Friday by the Department of Housing, shows that during the week of 22nd to 28th January there were 9,504 adults and 4,027 children in homelessness accommodation.

The figures represent an increase of 213 homeless people since December, and 15 per cent increase since January 2023 when the total was 11,754. The increase in child homelessness is 17.3 per cent in one year.

In Dublin, a total of 9,897 people, including 3,083 children, were counted as homeless last month – up from 8,523 people including 2,577 homeless children in January 2023.


The number of homeless single adults now stands at 6,308, of whom 4,385 are in Dublin.

These figures do not include people sleeping rough or homeless asylum seekers.

Over 1,000 asylum seekers are without accommodation, the latest figures show.

The data, published by the Department of Children and Integration on Friday shows there are now 1,010 male asylum seekers who cannot be provided with accommodation. In all since December 4th, 2023, 1,436 asylum seekers have not been provided with accommodation on arrival.

Of these, 171 have been provided with a bed following a “vulnerability triage” and 255 have been offered accommodation since arrival. Those “awaiting offer of accommodation” number 1,010.

The Irish Refugee Council described the figure a “bleak milestone” and called for “urgent, all of Government co-operation and co-ordination to address the unfolding crisis”.

Chief executive Nick Henderson said there was “existing capacity” for up to 2,500 people in the accommodation system for Ukrainians, lying empty. The response of Government to increasing homelessness for male asylum seekers was “completely inadequate”, he said.

“This situation cannot be normalised ... 1,010 people without accommodation is of deepest concern to us. Government response is completely inadequate and, as confirmed by High Court, there is a mandatory obligation to provide international protection applicants with basic needs including accommodation.

“We understand the difficult environment the Department of Children is working in to secure accommodation, but we are very concerned that accommodation capacity that does exist is not being used.

“It is hard not to conclude that this policy is an attempt to deter people from seeking international protection and that this situation is by choice and not inevitable. The passing of this milestone should give concern to all and spark action from all relevant Government departments.”

As of Friday there were over 60 men sleeping in tents at the headquarters of the International Protection Office in Dublin city centre, without access to running water, toilets or refuse collection.

Mr Henderson expressed concern male asylum seekers, some as young as 20, were “in increasingly unsanitary and dangerous situations, exposed to severe weather and at risk of serious harm.

“In a period of significant hostility towards immigrants and those in the protection process, the State must fulfil its legal obligations and act to resolve this emerging humanitarian crisis,” he added.

In a briefing note to Government, sent in December 2023, the IRC said there was capacity within the Ukrainian Beneficiary of Temporary Protection (BOTP) accommodation system. As of January 24th, there were 2,500 vacancies in the BOTP system, said the IRC.

“The current policy of allowing suppliers to refuse to accommodate people based on nationality must be urgently addressed,” it added.

Enda O’Neill, head of the Dublin office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said the situation of the homeless asylum seekers was “extremely concerning” and called for “decisive action” from Government.

“The situation appears to be deteriorating week on week. These people are left in a very vulnerable situation, essentially to fend for themselves as they cannot access any emergency accommodation. They are not familiar with the city and are unlikely to be streetwise or have a good level of English.

“Increasingly we are hearing reports of robberies and assaults on these men, including an assault last week that left a man hospitalised,” he said.

“It is important to stress that this situation is manageable if the Government puts the right policies and structures in place.

“Just this morning we heard from Justice Minister Helen McEntee that the Cabinet is due to take a decision on a new policy on asylum seeker accommodation, but unfortunately we have been hearing that message since last summer and frankly we are at a loss to explain why there have not been any steps taken on this by Government.”

The Department said: “Despite intensive efforts to source emergency accommodation, the Department is currently not in a position to provide accommodation to all international protection applicants due to the severe shortage.

“All male IPAs who present to the International Protection Office during this period are assessed by IPAS (International Protection Accommodation Services) and HSE staff for significant vulnerabilities and health issues, and prioritised for accommodation as necessary.

“IPAs who are not provided with accommodation will receive a temporary increase of €75 to their Daily Expense Allowance. This will increase the allowance from the current rate of €38.80 per week to €113.80 a week for all eligible applicants.”

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Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times