Just shy of 10,000 people are likely to be homeless for Christmas after new figures showed an increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation - the highest ever tally for the festive season.
The most recent homelessness figures, recorded last month, showed 9,968 people in emergency accommodation, including 3,811 children.
Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, admitted: “It is very disappointing to see more children in emergency accommodation as we enter into Christmas week.” The figures showed a rise of 19 families nationally in emergency accommodation and one family in Dublin. Nationally there was an overall increase of 158 Adults and 86 children.
While Minister Murphy stressed that tackling the crisis was “an absolute priority”, the fact that monthly figures have hovered below 10,000 for much of the year prompted renewed criticism of the government.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, said the problem had not been “normalised”, but there was a danger it might.
“There is a risk it could be,” he said.
“It does not look good. This figure is for the third week in November and that is around the time they were putting in new additional beds in Dublin.
He said December could see a fluctuation in homelessness as some people and families may stay for a short period with wider family. He also said the number of families becoming homeless in Dublin in the last four months had risen, despite the minister’s claim of a fall in the number of families presenting as homeless in the capital in the same period.
“The overall picture is very clear,” Mr Allen said.
“The situation is continuing to deteriorate very rapidly. The [government] policies are not having the effect we would like.”
Focus Ireland also said its own figures showed one child became homeless every four hours last month in Dublin. The figures show 96 families with 184 children became newly homeless in Dublin in November.