House prices higher than Celtic Tiger peak
Almost 11,000 people have been recorded as homeless in Ireland, the highest figure ever recorded.
A total of 10,975 people accessed emergency accommodation in September, a 1.6 per cent increase on previous month, according to Ireland’s Department of Housing.
It is the third consecutive month where the homeless figures have reached a record high.
In total, there were 7,633 adults and 3,342 children in emergency accommodation in the last week of September.
Ireland’s Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien described the situation as “very challenging”.
He said: “Fully aware of the risks of homelessness faced by renters this coming winter, the Government has just legislated to protect renters who are facing homelessness by deferring any ‘no fault’ tenancy terminations from taking place this winter.
“While this emergency measure is necessary and will provide assistance in the short-term, the long-term answer to our accommodation challenges, including combating homelessness, remains an increased and sustainable supply of new housing.”
Wayne Stanley of Simon Communities of Ireland said the figures were a “shocking” confirmation of the need for the moratorium on evictions introduced by Government this week.
The charity wants the Government to examine ways the 166,000 vacant homes identified in the latest census could be used to increase social housing stock.
Focus Ireland chief executive Pat Dennigan said the monthly figures are not an accurate reflection of the crisis due to near full emergency accommodation and that there is growing number of “hidden homeless”.
“It’s a reality that the monthly homeless figures are now a reflection of people only in emergency accommodation, the actual number of people homeless is in fact considerably higher,” he said.
“Unlike many European countries even at the height of the homeless crisis over the last 10 years, Ireland managed to avoid families sleeping in tents or their cars, now this grim prospect is a reality.
“More social and affordable housing is the long-term solution but in the short term we immediately need more emergency accommodation as homeless services such as Focus Ireland’s frontline team are being stretched to their maximum capacity.
“The prospect is looking increasingly grim this winter unless there is an urgent response to avoid more trauma for families across the country.”
He added that the eviction ban must be a catalyst to deliver lasting solutions.
“While a no-fault eviction ban is necessary, what’s also crucial is what the Minister for Housing will do for the five months while the ban is in place to tackle the underlying problem,” he said.
“More social and affordable housing is the long-term solution but in the short term we immediately need more emergency accommodation”
“We need measures to radically ramp up and accelerate delivery of social and affordable housing, meaningful policies and resources deployed to tackle vacancy, and a suite of measures to incentivise landlords to stay in the market.
“We must avoid a repeat of what followed after the previous eviction ban during the Covid-19 lockdowns which saw a dramatic increase in homelessness when the measure was lifted.”