Fall in number of families who were homeless at Christmas

Latest figures show 122 fewer families in emergency accommodation during December

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: acknowledged the homelessness issue would continue to be a challenge in 2018. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy: acknowledged the homelessness issue would continue to be a challenge in 2018. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

The number of families in emergency accommodation decreased by 122 across the State last month, according to latest homelessness figures released by the Department of Housing.

However, national figures as of December show there are still 5,508 homeless adults and 3,079 homeless dependants. The figures include 1,408 homeless families.

The statistics are based on data from housing authorities, measuring the numbers in State-funded emergency accommodation.

The latest figures show a reduction of 254 in the number of homeless children.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy said 4,000 previously homeless adults had found accommodation during 2017, while the number of families in emergency accommodation is at its lowest since June.

The number of adults in emergency accommodation fell by 16 last month.

“Significantly fewer children were in emergency arrangements during December compared to the previous month,” said Mr Murphy.

“Obviously we still have more work to do to help children and families to secure homes, but this is good progress for those families who were accommodated.”

The Minister acknowledged that the homelessness issue would continue to be a challenge this year, and the Government would continue to work “relentlessly” to lower the dependency on emergency accommodation.

Focus Ireland said the reduction in numbers was welcome but that they had increased by 17 per cent for the year.

The number of homeless families had risen from 1,205 in December, 2016 to 1,408 last month, it said, and that there was a 23 per cent increase in the number of children homeless, rising from 2,505 to 3,079 in same period.

“There is always a seasonal drop in the number becoming homeless every December and then a spike in the numbers come January,” said Focus Ireland advocacy director Mike Allen.

“This is due to a number of reasons such as extended family taking people in for Christmas but the situation is not sustainable and we regrettably expect to see a return to the rising pattern in January.”