Census reveals the new reality of homelessness: ICHH

Update 9.15pm: The CEO of the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) group has wecomed the latest census figures on homelessness and said they highlight the new reality of homelessness in this country.

Anthonly Flynn said that while homelessness has in the past conjured up an image of a rough sleeper, the crisis had now moved on to show how adults, pensioners and most shockingly children are experiencing homelessness in Ireland right now.

Commenting in the fact that the census reveals how 55% of homeless people in Ireland are in employment Mr Flynn said the number of people who are one or two pay cheques away from entering homelessness maust be grasped by government.

He went on: "The statistics do not, I believe, give a true extent of those who are homeless. Many people do not engage with the Census, and figures for those who are homeless in 'direct provision' and who 'sofa surf' are not included and the number of children in emergency accommodation is a far cry from the figure reported.

"We need to be realistic. The homeless crisis is worse than is being reported. We need a full review of homeless services as we are seeing delays in the release of monthly homeless figures which yet again were released after 4.30 on the friday of a bank holiday weekend to minimize the amount of reaction to another increase in figures.

Mr Flynn said the census figures show that 27% of homeless people in the country are children under 18 years old.

"That's just unacceptable. We have seen reports delivered to the Dáil on the negative impact emergency accommodation and hubs have on childrens mental health and well being yet nothing is being done to prevent this.

"This is the biggest emergency to hit this country in many years and the government need to call a State of Emergency and stop trying to fob people off with claims that things are improving.

"People on the front line will tell you that nothing is improving and I would urge the Taoiseach and the Minister for Housing to treat this with the urgency this homeless emergency demands."

Earlier: Almost a fifth of homeless people have a job, according to new CSO figures.

The figures show almost 7,000 people were homeless across the country on Census night last year.

58% were male, the average age was 31 and 17% were working.

Head of Communications with the Peter McVerry Trust Francis Doherty says homeless people - who are in employment- face a number of difficulties.

"People cannot afford rental accommodation so they ... are trying to hold down jobs while they are in emergency accommodation. That job isn’t enough to keep them in private rental accommodation or meet their mortgage payments.

"So it's particularly challenging for those individuals to get up every day and go into a work place and then leave the workplace and come back to an emergency accommodation situation ... it is very demoralising."


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