Focus Ireland reports 10% spike in homelessness in past year

Focus Ireland reports 10% spike in homelessness in past year

One of the country's largest homeless charities saw a 9% jump in the number of people it helped last year.

Focus Ireland supported more than 12,500 people who had no home or were at risk of losing their home - the highest number in the 30 years the agency has been doing this work. The figure was up from 11,500 people in the previous year.

Founder Sr Stanislaus Kennedy said the charity would provide 600 more homes by the end of 2019 - 150 each year - to help tackle the crisis.

At the end of July there were 1,130 families, with 2,348 children, in emergency accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs in towns and cities around the country.

The agency praised the work of Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, but warned the Government's plans to tackle homelessness and housing shortages need more detail before they can be fully credible.

Part of Mr Coveney's commitments in the Action Plan on Housing include a pledge to put homeless families in emergency hotel accommodation only in very limited circumstances.

The Government also vowed to spend 5.35 billion euro on 47,000 new social houses by 2021, and the number of homes being built each year will double to 25,000.

Focus Ireland's report is being launched days after another leading campaigner on the issue Fr Peter McVerry called for the Government to seize empty homes for social housing.

The Peter McVerry Trust said the number of homeless people it placed in emergency accommodation last year was up almost 90% to 3,847


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