Number of homeless children increases by 10% in past year

Total number of people listed as homeless across the State is now just under 10,000

The number of homeless children has increased by 10 per cent in the past year, from 3,267 in January 2018 to 3,624 last month as the number of homeless people reaches just under 10,000.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show there were 9,987 people in emergency accommodation during the week of January 21st to 27th. Among these were 1,614 families and 4,104 single adults.

There were 65 more children homeless in January compared with December 2108 (3,559), three fewer families (1,617 down to 1,614) and 189 more single adults compared with December (3,915).

The number of homeless children increased in six of the nine regions in the past month - by 20 in Dublin to 2,706; by 20 in the Mid-East to 105; by four in the Midlands to 1012; by 15 in the Mid-West to 119; by 12 in the North-East to 55, and, by ten in the North-West to 25. Numbers went down in the South-East (by seven to 51) and South-West (by one to 282), and stayed steady at 179 in the West.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy described the figures as "very disappointing".

Not acceptable

He added: “We remain in a very difficult situation where homelessness is heavily impacting on the lives of families and individuals. There was a decrease of people in emergency accommodation in December, which we understood at the time to be partly due to seasonal reasons, and so an increase in January was anticipated but that doesn’t mean it is acceptable.”

Anthony Flynn, chief executive of Inner City Helping Homeless, said: "This is a gross understatement as we are a long way past disappointed. This is beyond frustrating and the Government's lack of will to build new public housing on available public lands is at the core of the current crisis."

Focus Ireland said the figures showed Government was "still failing to tackle the deepening crisis" and called for shift away from providing hubs to increasing social housing.

Depaul chief executive, Kerry Anthony said more was needed "to stop individuals and families entering emergency accommodation".

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing, Eoin Ó Broin said: “The Minister has called the figures disappointing. This is deeply insulting to all those people left homeless as a result of his failures. Today’s figures are an outrage.

“Since Minister Murphy became minister homelessness has increased by a shocking 26 per cent. He is failing and he must resign.”

Solidarity spokesman on housing Mick Barry said the figures illustrated, "the shocking failure of the capitalist market to deliver any vestige of social justice and the abject inability of this landlords' Government to tackle the housing crisis.

“Any government which allows homelessness to touch the 10,000 mark does not deserve to remain in power”.