'Focus must be on preventing homelessness', as number of homeless children tops 3,000 for first time

We should be focused on preventing people becoming homeless according to campaigners.

The latest figures show almost 9,000 people are in emergency accommodation around the country. More than 3,000 of these are children - the first time the figure of children has topped that number.

The most recent figures released by the Department of Housing show that 8,270 people, including 3,048 children, were registered as living in emergency and temporary accommodation during the last week of August.

The figures show there were 1,442 families living in accommodation such as hotels and B&Bs in August, up from 1,429 in July. There was a notable increase in homeless single-parent families in the capital which jumped from 733 to 770.

Responding to the figures Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said: “The trend, unfortunately, is up nationally but we have seen progress in Dublin where we have 32 fewer families in homelessness than in August. We need to do more…But it’s good to see that sign of progress.”

He has promised more action in next Month's Budget (October 10).

However, Mike Allen of Focus Ireland has said prevention in this case is better than a cure. He said: "It's heartbreaking for everybody, including the frontline staff doing that work to see that for every family they support out of homelessness, there's a new family (or more) that loses their home in most months.

"It really emphasises the Minister needs to pay attention to preventing families becoming homeless. We can only do so much…The Minister has to introduce the policies to prevent (these families) becoming homeless."

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