St Vincent de Paul calls for urgent action on homeless crisis following CSO figures

The Society of St Vincent de Paul is calling for urgent action to deal with the homeless crisis.

CSO figures yesterday revealed the scale of the problem - with an increase in families and children becoming homeless.

The charity's Jennifer Thompson says many of these people see no way out.

“A lot of families have to make very tough choices. They definitely want to remain in their homes, been that rented or owned and they are prioritising their mortgages and rent over basic utilities or food,” she said.

Almost 7,000 people were classed as homeless on census night last year.

The latest report from the 2016 population count revealed homeless people were on average younger and sicker.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said about one-fifth of people who were recorded in emergency or temporary accommodation indicated their health was fair, bad or very bad, almost double the rate of the general population.

The disability rate among the homeless was double that of the general population, the CSO said, with 1,871 people indicating they had a disability.

It also revealed that about one-third of the 2,915 homeless people in the labour force were working.

The CSO said its homeless numbers were based on where people were living on census night April 24, 2016, and not through self-identification.

Some 2,887 people were recorded in private emergency accommodation; another 2,681 were in supported temporary accommodation; and another 1,144 people were in temporary emergency accommodation.

The headcount also found 123 rough sleepers, 102 of whom were in Dublin.

The CSO said it did not include the 1,772 people in long-term accommodation in its report on homelessness as they were classed as tenants even though they were receiving specific supports.

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