Number of homeless single adults increases as overall figures fall

This Christmas likely to be ‘the most challenging’ in 50 years, says Simon Community

The number of homeless single adults continues to increase even as overall homelessness figures fall, the latest figures show.

In Dublin destitution among adults (without children) has been increasing steadily for six months.

The data, published on Wednesday by the Department of Housing, show that during the week of November 23rd to 29th there were 8,484 people in emergency accommodation. These included 2,452 children in 1,034 families, and 4,536 single adults .

These compare with October figures showing total of 8,737 people in emergency accommodation, including 2,642 children in 1,117 families and 4,495 single adults.


In Dublin, where the number of homeless single adults surpassed 3,000 for the first time last month, figures have increased again from 3,051 in October to 3,093 in November.

These figures do not include people sleeping rough and come as the number of deaths among homeless people in Dublin approaches 60 this year.

Overall homelessness has been falling since March, as family numbers declined due to successes exiting homelessness as more rental properties became available.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has been particularly successful in moving families with children out of homelessness. Here, the number of children in emergency accommodation has fallen from 2,678 in January to 1,914 last month.

Local authorities’ major difficulty appears to be securing one-bedroom housing for single adults, for whom numbers in the capital have increased from 2,865 in January to 3,093 last month.

Wayne Stanley, spokesman for the Simon Communities, said this Christmas looked likely to be "the most challenging for our clients and frontline services in the 50 years we have existed".

He welcomed the continued decrease in family homelessness, adding however: “Worryingly the number of single people in homelessness has risen again.

“Christmas is always a time of heightened emotion and isolation for people experiencing homelessness and this year even more so as Covid numbers increase and we’re all asked to limit our contacts . . . Many vulnerable people in homelessness have underlying health issues and we have to do everything we can to keep them safe.

“The Covid crisis is again showing how critical a home is and 2021 should be the year of home and the Government must deliver on its commitment to hold a referendum on a right to housing.”

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times