Call for evictions ban to be restored after rise in child homelessness

More than 8,000 in emergency accommodation while half Dublin’s rough sleepers live in tents

The spring ‘rough sleeper’ count found 125 people sleeping on the streets, in parks and in other outdoor locations in Dublin. File photograph: Laura Hutton

The spring ‘rough sleeper’ count found 125 people sleeping on the streets, in parks and in other outdoor locations in Dublin. File photograph: Laura Hutton

 

Housing charities have called for the ban on evictions to be restored until the end of the year, amid fears of a “tsunami of homelessness” in the coming months.

The latest data from the Department of Housing shows during the week of April 19th-25th there were 8,082 people, including 2,193 children, in emergency accommodation. This compares with 8,060 people, including 2,166 children, in March – an increase of 22 people overall but of 27 children.

The increase in child and family homelessness is centred in Dublin and surrounding counties only. In Dublin, the number of homeless children increased by 50 – from 1,669 in March to 1,719 in April. In the mid-East (counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow) child homelessness increased by 10, from 121 to 131. Everywhere else in the State child homelessness fell.

The number of homeless single adults without dependents also fell – from 4,560 to 4,533 nationally and from 3,073 in March to 3,040 in April in the capital.

Focus Ireland, the lead charity supporting families in homelessness, expressed its alarm at the figures. It said the ending of eviction protections for families in April was “both heartless and highly risky”. “Family homelessness remains at totally unacceptable levels . . . there is now a real fear that we will now see a sharp rise in the number of families losing their homes due to a new round of evictions.”

It called for a restoration of the eviction moratorium until the end of the year.

The Inner City Helping Homeless charity added its concerns that private landlords in rent pressure zones would be able to increase rents by up to eight per cent as they “missed out” on the opportunity to increase rents last year.

“This will bring on a tsunami of homelessness over the remainder of the year,” it said. “The Government continues to let renters down at every available opportunity and these actions will lead to the homeless figures increasing month on month.”

Also published on Friday, the spring “rough sleeper count” found more than half of people sleeping rough in Dublin were in living in tents.

The count, published by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), found 125 people sleeping on the streets, in parks and in other outdoor locations in Dublin. The count was conducted between April 19th and 25th.

A total of 85 were men and 25 women, of whom 79 (72 per cent) were aged between 26 and 45; 17 were aged between 46 and 61 (15 per cent) and 14 were between 20 and 25 years (13 per cent). The youngest was aged 20 and the oldest 61.

For the first time the count monitored the prevalence of tents and found 65 (59 per cent) people sleeping out had this kind of shelter while with 45 (41 per cent) did not.

The count, which is arranged by DRHE, was conducted by the Dublin Simon Community outreach team. Additional outreach workers were deployed to ensure intense coverage of all city-centre areas.

Among the 110 people, they found 92 (83 per cent) were Irish, 11 (10 per cent) were from the EU, three (3 per cent) were from outside the EU and the nationalities of four (4 per cent) could not be established.

A majority (56) were from the Dublin City Council area with 26 from one of the three other Dublin local authorities. A total of 18 were from outside Dublin and the origins of 10 could not be established.

In a statement issued with the data, the DRHE said: “The number of people rough sleeping in the Dublin region changes from night to night. While there is a core group who regularly sleep rough, and may or may not engage with services, there is a larger group that move between rough sleeping, accessing emergency accommodation, sleeping in insecure accommodation, and staying with family or friends.

“Others may engage in rough sleeping for a very brief transitional period. Conducting this count over a longer one-week period (prior to winter 2020, counts took place over a single night) provides more comprehensive information on the different experiences of people who engage in rough sleeping.”

Staff in all four Dublin local authorities and gardaí provided additional information about people who were rough sleeping, especially those in isolated areas, it added.