Number of homeless children reaches new high of 3,800

Children accounted for all but four of the 41 additional people who became homeless since February

The highest increase in child homelessness was in the west, where there were 201 in February and 218 last month. File image:  Reuters/David Ryder

The highest increase in child homelessness was in the west, where there were 201 in February and 218 last month. File image: Reuters/David Ryder

 

There are now over 3,800 homeless children across the State, the latest figures show.

Data from the Department of Housing published on Tuesday show there were 10,305 people homeless, including 3,821 children, in the week between the 25th and 31st March. This compares with 9,681 homeless, including 3,646 children in March 2018.

Since February 2019 the figures show an increase of 41 in the total number of homeless, of whom 37 were children, setting a new record level.

The highest increase in child homelessness was in the west, where there were 201 in February and 218 last month. In Dublin there were 2,806 homeless children - the same as in February - though the number of homeless families in the capital increased in the same month from 1,288 to 1,297.

Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy described the increase of four adults recorded as homeless as “slight” in one month.

“We continue to put considerable efforts in to prevent people from entering emergency accommodation, while also exiting as many families and individuals from homelessness as possible each month.”

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing Eoin Ó Broin, however, said the figures showed Government housing policy was “failing those in greatest housing need”.

Focus Ireland, the lead non-statutory agency working with homeless families, said: “The deepening homelessness crisis will not be ended without a shift in Government policy”. A substantial increase in social housing provision and a move away from providing more emergency accommodation and hubs was necessary.

Anthony Flynn, chief executive of the Inner City helping Homeless charity said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Mr Murphy needed to stop using “cheap” words like “disappointing” to describe the continuing upward trend in homelessness.

Suzanne Connolly, chief executive of Barnardos called on the Government to ensure every homeless child had access to a support worker.