Almost 200 children became homeless in the past month in Dublin

Focus Ireland figures reveal 9,698 people in emergency accommodation in September

Almost 200 children became newly homeless in Dublin in the past month as children continue to constitute the fastest increasing group in homelessness.

Focus Ireland released the figures as the Department of Housing published the national homelessness figures on Wednesday evening, showing there were 9,698 people, including 3,829 children, in emergency accommodation last month.

This does not include over 1,600 people who continue to access homelessness accommodation removed from homelessness statistics in recent months.

The latest department figures represents a 15 per cent increase in the overall numbers since September 2017 – when there were 8,374, and a 22 per cent increase in the number of children.


Since August overall homelessness has gone up by 171, while the number of homeless children has gone up by 136, from 3,693.

In Dublin, the number of children in emergency accommodation increased overall by 48 in a month. This indicates about 145 exits from homelessness as, according to Focus Ireland, a total of of 88 families with 193 children became newly homeless in Dublin in September.

The charity said the Government had “failed to take a number of vital decisions required to ease the crisis”.

Chief executive Pat Dennigan said: "There is some positive news. We are managing to ensure that the number of people living in emergency accommodation is not rising as fast as it was last year . . . However, it is totally unacceptable and wrong that at the same time three families became homeless every single day in September in Dublin alone."


He called for “two key” measures. Where families present as homeless because their landlord is selling up, carrying out renovations or family is moving in, the local authority should check this is the case and take legal action where it is not, he said.

In addition, approved housing bodies should be funded to buy buy-to-let properties from vulture funds, to be let to the tenant.

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing, Eoin Ó Broin, said the figures were not a true reflection of the actual number of people in homelessness accommodation “as 1,600 people have been removed from the figures over the past few months at the request of the Minister for Housing”.

“We know from speaking with various local authorities that the families removed from the figures are still accessing homeless services.”

‘Startling’ increase

Agreeing with him, the children’s charity Barnardos described as “startling” the increase in homeless children at the start of the school year.

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at Barnardos, said the increase “implies the dip seen in the August figures were caused by the recategorisation of some families”.

Anthony Flynn, chief executive of Inner City Helping Homeless, said: "We cannot allow the continued increase in the number of homeless children be downplayed. These children need proper homes to fully develop both physically and mentally as living in emergency accommodation has a huge impact on their health and wellbeing."

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said: "We are still very much in the midst of a crisis in homelessness in this country, despite the increasing numbers of new social houses being built and house building more generally. Until we have caught up with supply, we will continue to face a serious challenge. More effort is needed and more emergency responses are needed, and the provision of extra money in the budget, for this year and next year, is demonstration of the Government's determination when it comes to our homelessness crisis."

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times