10,514 men, women and children: Demands for urgent action as record homelessness figures revealed

10,514 men, women and children: Demands for urgent action as record homelessness figures revealed

Record homelessness figures have triggered fresh demands for urgent action ahead of a confidence motion against Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy tonight.

A total of 10,514 men, women and children were in emergency accommodation during the final week of October, according to the figures from the Department of Housing.

This represents an increase of 117 people in emergency accommodation since September and is the tenth consecutive month where the figures have exceeded 10,000.

Mr Murphy's department attempted to play down the worsening crisis, by saying the figures showed there was a decrease of 23 families and 47 children in the numbers.

But charities and support groups strongly disagreed.

Simon Communities said that there had been an overall increase of 8.1% since October 2018, when the figure was 9,724.

Furthermore, 6,688 adults in total were now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 11.5% since October 2018, when the figure was 5,999, it said.

Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the Government must take action to ensure that the thousands facing into Christmas in homelessness and those living with housing insecurity are given hope.

Commenting on the figures, a cross border body working with the homeless was also critical of the record figures.

Depaul CEO David Carroll said: “There are homeless people and children who will miss out on the best parts of Christmas simply because they do not have a home of their own. We need to get a push on getting these numbers down and allowing people and families to get on with their lives."

Children's charity Barnardos said it was very concerned about the reality facing children experiencing homelessness.

CEO Suzanne Connolly said: "We know that homelessness can affect anyone in Irish society. For many people they possess the individual and family supports needed to manage this stressful situation."

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said that some people "are facing a second or third Christmas without a home. Hotel rooms – and homeless hubs - are no places for children to be growing up. This is wrong and it must end.

"It’s particularly shocking that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness. Being homeless causes terrible trauma to any family or individual but it is hurting children the most.

"We are seeing this through our own work supporting these families. Babies are living in tiny hotel rooms where they don’t even have enough room to learn how to crawl properly."

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