Number of homeless people in Ireland spirals

Record number of single adults in Dublin emergency accommodation

The number of homeless people in the State increased by more than 300 last month to 9,492, the latest Department of Housing figures show.

There were 3,256 single adults living in emergency accommodation in Dublin in February, the highest number on record. There was also an increase in the number of homeless families to 1,180, including 2,667 children.

Housing charity Focus Ireland expressed concern at the rising figures, saying the issue had got worse since a ban on evictions introduced early in the Covid-19 pandemic ended.

It expressed alarm at the number of landlords leaving the market, saying the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) showed there has been a 60 per cent increase in eviction notices over the last two years. There were 3,038 evictions last year compared to 1,902 in 2020.

Landlord exodus

RTB figures show that in early 2020 about half of landlords said their reason for evicting tenants was an intention to sell the property. This had increased to 64 per cent by the end of last year.

"It's a reality that the most vulnerable are relying on the unpredictable private rental market where options are scarce across the country," said Focus Ireland chief executive Pat Dennigan. "The Government needs to do more to ensure landlords stay in the market and as well as delivering on its commitment to build more affordable accommodation."

Mr Dennigan said the Government should protect vulnerable tenants from eviction or Ireland would see more people becoming homeless. He said the high cost of living due to inflation, along with the lack of affordable childcare, was also contributing to the problem.

“Our services are now reporting there are vulnerable parents with two full-time incomes who are unable to afford childcare, forcing a parent to quit their employment to look after their children,” he said.