Reclassified homeless less at risk than private renters - Murphy

Individuals accessing ‘own door’ accommodation through homeless funding ‘more secure’ than in private market

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Households that have been removed from monthly homeless figures but are still recorded as accessing homeless services are at “no risk” of entering emergency accommodation, Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy has said.

More than 1,600 people, including 981 children, have been removed from department homeless statistics since the start of the year.

The families are accommodated by local authorities in “own-door” temporary accommodation, and not traditional emergency accommodation such as hostels, family hubs, or hotel rooms.

Local authorities have told The Irish Times none of these families are deemed housed or have a lease with tenants’ rights. In most cases the accommodation is wholly or partially funded through “Section 10” funding specifically for homeless accommodation, and they are still recorded on “Pass,” the national homeless database system.

Reclassifying

On Wednesday, Mr Murphy defended reclassifying these households as no longer homeless. The people were in homes “with their own doors, with no risk of going into emergency accommodation,” he said.

In some cases local authorities were the landlords for these families, so there was “no risk” of the occupants being evicted into homelessness or emergency accommodation, he said.

“In fact they’re in more secure accommodation than many people in the private sector today, so it’s wrong to record those people as being in emergency accommodation when they’re not,” Mr Murphy said.

“The key here is to know who is in emergency accommodation, who is in the hostels, who are in the hotels, who are in the hubs – so we can find sustainable pathways out of the accommodation for them,” he said.

The department homeless figures for September show there were 9,698 people, including 3,829 children, recorded as living in emergency accommodation.

Mr Murphy was speaking at the launch of housing association Respond’s annual report, at a family hub run by the group in Whitehall, north Dublin.

The housing body run several family hubs, and social housing estates, and built 5,639 homes last year. The organisation has 3,225 housing units in the development pipeline.

The Minister was shown details of eight Respond housing sites at construction stage around the country, which will deliver more than 400 homes.

Mr Murphy said he would be meeting local authority chief executives in the coming weeks, to ensure there was sufficient contingency beds to accommodate rough sleepers during the winter period.