Over 7,000 people living in emergency accommodation

Latest Government figures show the Irish homelessness crisis is getting worse

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. The number of people living in emergency accommodation has surpassed 7,000 for the first time.  Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney. The number of people living in emergency accommodation has surpassed 7,000 for the first time. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

The number of people living in emergency accommodation has surpassed 7,000 for the first time.

The Department of Housing’s latest homelessness figures show that at the end of December 2016 a total of 7,148 people were living in emergency accommodation, including 2,505 children.

In November 2016, 6,985 people were living in emergency accommodation, which was the first time Ireland’s homelessness crisis had reached such a level.

Homelessness drastically increased throughout last year.

In January 2016, 5,715 people, including 1,830 children, were in emergency accommodation.

The figures for December 2016 show that the number of adults in emergency accommodation increased by 207 on November.

The number of families in emergency accommodation remained at 1,205 in December 2016, but the number of children had dropped by 44 compared with the previous month.

Social housing

Responding to the figures, Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin called on Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to speed up the delivery of social housing to address the growing number of people living in emergency accommodation.

“This figure does not include adults and children in Tusla-funded domestic violence emergency accommodation, non-Irish nationals in emergency accommodation funded by the New Communities Unit of the Department of Social Protection, or the 400 families trapped in Direct Provision despite having their Stamp 4 visas,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the Government refuses to fully fund the purchase of up to 1,000 houses offered for sale by AIB and PTSB.

“To date, funding has only been approved for 200 of these units and contracts signed on only 30,” he said.

Mr Ó Broin called on Mr Coveney “to put his money where is mouth is and buy these 1,000 units or explain to the Dáil the reasons why he has chosen not to take families out of emergency accommodation and put them into houses that tonight are lying empty”.