Nationwide homeless figures rose to 8,300 in September
Number of children in Dublin without place to live increased to 2,416
There were more than 8,300 homeless children and adults living in emergency accommodation last month, figures from the Department of Housing show.
More than 100 more people became homeless between August and September, according to the figures, with the number of homeless people in Dublin now at almost 6,000.
A total of 8,374 people were homeless nationally in September, 3,124 of whom were children. The total homeless population in August was 8,270, including 3,048 children.
In Dublin, where the homeless problem is most acute, child homelessness had shown a light decrease in August, but the numbers of homeless children in the capital rose in September, up to 2,416 from 2,379. In total, 5,953 people are now living in emergency accommodation in Dublin.
Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Sinn Féin spokesman Eoin Ó Broin clashed in the Dáil over the interpretation of the figures.
Mr Murphy stressed that while nationally the number of families accessing emergency accommodation services was up the overall trend was downwards.
However, Mr Ó Broin said it was “Orwellian in the extreme to suggest that there’s progress”. He said the number of families in emergency accommodation in Dublin had fallen by a total of eight.
“But the number of children in emergency accommodation in Dublin has increased by 37 so that’s not progress,” he said.
“The total number of adults, children and families is up. So we now have approaching 8,500 adults and children in emergency accommodation.”
Mr Murphy said, “We have to look at the trends.”
In a statement on the figures, the Minister said there had been a reduction in the number of families living in hotels since the “high point” last March, with more “family hub” accommodation becoming available.
Mr Murphy’s predecessor, Simon Coveney, had set a target of last July to end the use of hotels to accommodate homeless people.
“Unfortunately, families and individuals continue to present to our emergency accommodation services,” Mr Murphy said. “There are still 690 families in hotels. While any one family in a hotel or B&B is one too many, this is still significantly down on the high point in March earlier this year, when 871 families were in hotels and B&Bs.”
In addition to bedrooms, the hubs offer homework and play spaces, laundry, cooking and dining facilities. Just over 300 families are currently in hubs in Dublin and another 180 new hub units are due to become available by the end of the year.
By the end of the March next year, a further three hubs are due to be in place which will accommodate more than 100 families. Further hubs are also in train, Mr Murphy said.
A total of 89 new families presented as homeless in September but the Minister said the rate of increase in homelessness between July and September was 1.8 per cent nationally, compared to 4.8 per cent for the three previous months.