Number of homeless people rises for first time since pandemic began

Increase linked to single adults having to use emergency accommodation due to problems finding homes

The number of homeless people in the State has increased for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Department of Housing.

The increase was driven by a growing number of single adults going into emergency accommodation, a category in the official numbers that has been rising since May.

Eileen Gleeson, director of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, said this was down to there being a "real lack of permanent affordable accommodation" for single adults.

Overall, the latest data show that during the week of July 20th to 26th a total of 8,728 people were in emergency accommodation in the State, up from 8,699 in June. A total of 9,907 people were living in emergency accommodation in March, which was when the pandemic began to take hold in the State.


The number of homeless children and families continued to decline in July, with 2,651 children living in emergency accommodation last month, down from 2,653 in June and 3,355 in March.

The data show there are now 4,413 single adults in homeless accommodation - compared with 4,364 in June. Numbers steadily increased since April when there were 4,347 homeless single adults and now almost match the March figure of 4,414.

The homeless adults were predominantly in Dublin, where there were 2,916 single people in emergency accommodation, up from 2,897 in June and 2,906 in March.

The Inner City Helping Homeless charity pointed to the "removal of the ban on evictions" by the Government as a direct cause of the increase in homelessness. Cllr Anthony Flynn, the charity's chief executive, described the increase of 29 people as the "calm before the storm" and predicted a "bigger jump next month and for the remainder of the year into 2021".

The Simon Communities noted the increased number of homeless single people and said the recent increase in Covid-19 cases would created risks for people living in congregated settings such as accommodation for the homeless.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times