Number of people homeless reaches new high of 7,167

New figures show one child became homeless every 5 hours in Dublin this January

The number of homeless people in Ireland reached a new high of 7,167 last month. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The number of homeless people in Ireland reached a new high of 7,167 last month. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

The number of homeless people in Ireland reached a new high of 7,167 last month.

Some 4,760 adults and 2,407 children were homeless in January, a marginal increase of the previous record high of 7,148 reached in December, but a rise of a quarter on the same month last year (5,715).

The situation remains worst in Dublin where 3,247 adults and 2,046 children are homeless.

The number of homeless families in the State declined by 33 in January 2017, but it was still up by a third on this time last year.

Focus Ireland pointed out that the charity’s own new monthly figures for Dublin showing that 87 families with 151 children became homeless in January.

“This means that shockingly a child became homeless every five hours in Dublin during the month of January,” said its director of advocacy Mike Allen.

“In recent years we have seen a pattern of a fall in the number of families becoming homeless in December followed by sudden increase in January. This year there is a different pattern with no real fall in December, and a small fall in January.

“Behind this pattern we see continued high numbers entering homelessness in Dublin and even higher numbers being supported to escape homelessness and find new homes.”

The Minister for Housing Simon Coveney said work is being done to ensure sufficient beds are in place for rough sleepers and there is a drive to ensure that more families are exiting homelessness than are entering it.

“We are frontloading our efforts to ensure that the existing group of families accommodated in hotels move out as quickly as possible so that by mid-2017 hotels will only be used as emergency accommodation in exceptional circumstances,” he said.

However, Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin accused Mr Coveney of deliberately trying to “bury bad news”.

“The January homeless figures can be in no way labelled as a success and government policy on homelessness is clearly failing.

“In sharp contrast to Minister Coveney’s bells and whistles re-announcements of his Housing Action plan, again the Minister has released these figures late in the day on the website with no press statement,” he said.