Number of people homeless reached record levels last month

Campaigners call for an ‘urgent reassessment’ of Government policy following figures

The figures show that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless during the month.

The figures show that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless during the month.

 

Campaigners have called for an “urgent reassessment” of the Government’s housing policy following record numbers of homeless people in emergency accomodation last month.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy published figures on Tuesday which show 5,837 adults and 3,267 “dependents” utilised State-funded emergency accommodation in January.

The figures show that a new record total of 9,104 people were homeless during the month. This is an increase of 6 per cent from 8,587 in December last year.

“The increase in homelessness in January was anticipated to a degree,” said Mr Murphy. “One reason for this was the 200 new permanent beds added to the system in the last quarter of last year.”

The figures were described by the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) as shocking and unacceptable.

“The latest homeless figures which have reached a record high are shocking and unacceptable and should be a cause of outrage and shame,” it said.

“The figures should act as a rallying call for urgent action and for the State to declare a housing emergency. Urgent reassessment of the Government’s housing policy is needed.”

Focus Ireland said the figures show the Government is “dramatically failing” to do enough to ease the crisis. It said it helped more than 700 families last year and the situation would be “much worse” without the charity sector.

“We are deeply concerned by the Government’s continued emphasis on the delivery of hubs to tackle this human crisis of family homelessness,” said Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen.

“The Government has no strategy to tackle family homelessness; all it has is an outdated promise in Rebuilding Ireland and a stack of press statements. We urgently need a coherent, joined up and ambitious strategy to tackle this issue.”

Simon Communities spokeswoman Niamh Randall also said the figures were unacceptable”.

“It is so important that we don’t stop being shocked by these figures,” she said. “Every one of these people is someone’s son or daughter, someone’s brother of sister, someone’s mother or father.

“These figures only count those who are staying in Section 10 funded accommodation so the figures don’t include rough sleepers or those in squats, women and children in refuges, or people who are hidden homeless staying with family or friends.

“There are also many thousands more living with housing insecurity, living with daily uncertainty not knowing of they will have a home next week or next month. This is no way for people and families to live.”