Number of families in Dublin homeless for at least two years has doubled

Dublin Region Homeless Executive data shows homeless for 18-24 months has trebled

 

The number of families that have been homeless for two years or more in Dublin has doubled in less than six months, new figures show.

The data, provided by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), also show the numbers homeless for 18 to 24 months more than trebled, between September last year and the end of February.

There were 919 homeless families in Dublin on the night of September 9th, 2016, according to the figures, of which 22 (two per cent) were homeless for 24 months or more.

Some 42 (five per cent) were homeless for 18 to 24 month; 192 (21 per cent) for 12 to 18 months; 278 (30 per cent) for six to 12 months, while 385 (42 per cent ) were six months or less homeless.

Twenty-four weeks later, on the night of February 26th, the proportion of families for longer periods in homelessness had increased, while numbers for shorter periods had reduced.

Of the 1,003 families in homelessness that night, 40 (four per cent) had been for 24 months or longer; 138 (14 per cent) for 18 to 24 months; 220 (22 per cent) for 12-18 months; 231 (23 per cent) for six to 12 months, while 374 were homeless for six months or less.

The figures come as Housing Minister, Simon Coveney, reiterates his commitment that no family will be accommodated in commercial hotels after July 1st. The latest figures for Dublin show there were 1,069 families – including 2,134 children – homelessness in March.

Numbers have increased steadily since Minister Coveney’s appointment one year ago, on May 6th 2016, when there were 913 families, with 1,847children homeless in Dublin.

Sinn Féin Housing spokesman, Eoin O Broin, said numbers had increased steadily, the average time in homelessness had grown from “about 12 months to now close to 22 months” and the concern now was that the determination to eliminate the use of commercial hotels by July 1st would result in thousands of families being placed in non-permanent alternatives including refurbished hotels renamed “family hubs”, modular housing or Nama-managed apartments, and the Government claiming the family homelessness crisis had been solved.

“These alternatives are better than hotels, yes, but they are not homes,” he said.

A DRHE spokeswoman said of the 2,126 families that have accessed emergency accommodation since January 2015, 1,123 have left homelessness, the majority of them to tenancies in the private rented sector supported by the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Since January, 303 families have exited homelessness, she said.

In the past 12 months the Government has voted down two opposition Bills that would have provided greater protection to tenants in the private rented sector – a Rent Certainty Bill moved by Sinn Féin was defeated in May last year, while in January an AAA-PBP Anti-Eviction Bill was defeated, with Fianna Fáil abstaining.