Nearly 9,000 people homeless as numbers without a home continues to rise

Children make up more than a quarter of homeless population with majority in Dublin

A total of 8,830 people were without a home last month, including 2,513 children, according to the latest data from the Department of Housing. Photograph: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A total of 8,830 people were without a home last month, including 2,513 children, according to the latest data from the Department of Housing. Photograph: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

 

Nearly 9,000 men, women and children were recorded as homeless in October as numbers living in emergency accommodation continue to rise.

A total of 8,830 people were without a home last month, including 2,513 children, according to the latest data from the Department of Housing. Some 1,903 of these children are currently staying in emergency accommodation in Dublin.

These latest figures mark a four per cent increase on the 8,475 people recorded as homeless in September. The number of children without a home has also risen from 2,344 in September.

Homelessness number in Ireland fell considerably during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic, down from a peak of more than 10,500 in late 2019.

However, in recent months numbers have started to rise again - an increase of 263 was recorded between August and September, and 355 between September and October.

Of the 6,217 homeless adults recorded in October, 65 per cent were men and 35 per cent were women. More than 50 per cent of these were aged between 25 and 44, while 17 per cent were between 18 and 24, 27 per cent were between 45 and 64 and two per cent were aged 65 or older.

Some 70 per cent of homeless people were based in Dublin, while 8 eight per cent are in counties Cork and Kerry; five per cent were in counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon and another five per cent were based across counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.

‘Sustained rise’

The latest numbers show nearly 800 homeless families are in Dublin while 79 are in the west of the country, 68 are in the south-west, 55 are in the mid-east and 36 are in the mid-west.

In Dublin, the majority of people without a home are staying in private emergency accommodation, including hotels, B&Bs and other residential facilities, and supported temporary accommodation including family hubs and hostels.

The national housing and homeless charity, Peter McVerry Trust, said the latest rise in the numbers was “a trend that needs to be urgently reversed” and that real efforts were needed to “avoid the loss of hard-won gains over the past 18 months”.

The charity’s chief executive, Pat Doyle, described the increase as “disappointing” but said he was more concerned about the the “sustained rise” in the number of people recorded homeless in recent months.

“Even with this latest increase we are still someway off the peak we experienced in 2019 but we have to ensure that we do everything we can to stop the increase, to stabilise the numbers and ultimately drive it down to much lower levels,” said Mr Doyle. “In the short term we have to progress people into housing as quickly as possible and we have to find more housing solutions urgently or we risk further increases in homelessness in the coming months.”

Wayne Stanley, head of communications at the Simon Communities of Ireland, noted that the number of people without a home had risen more than 10 per cent since the moratorium on evictions was lifted in May 2021.

“The stark numbers today are a clear consequence of a housing crisis sharpened by the Covid pandemic,” said Mr Stanley, adding that recent research by the charity found a 79 per cent decrease in the number of properties available to rent under the Housing Assistance Payment scheme.

“The lack of supply and crisis of affordability in our housing system is going to continue to drive people into homelessness. Unless preventative action is taken now, we are heading into a crisis Christmas for thousands of people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.”