Homeless charities: 'Drop in homelessness figures does not truly capture scale of crisis'

Homeless charities: 'Drop in homelessness figures does not truly capture scale of crisis'

The Simon Communities of Ireland have said that though there is a drop in family homelessness for the second month in a row, it is worrying that 2019 came to a close with nearly 10.500 people in emergency accommodation.

The total number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation is currently 10,448 according to November figures released by the Housing Department.

While the figures are a decrease of 66 in comparison to October figures, it is still the 10th consecutive month where numbers have been higher than 10,000.

The figures show:

  • 10,448 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 5% since November 2018, when the figure was 9,968
  • 4274 single adults are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 14% since November 2018, when the figure was 3,745
  • 6696 adults in total are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 9% since November 2018, when the figure was 6,157
  • 1685 families are living in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 2% from November 2018, when the figure was 1,728 families

Spokesperson Wayne Stanley said: "Unfortunately, these numbers do not even truly capture the full scale of this homelessness and housing crisis. These numbers do not include; rough sleepers and those in squats, people in direct provision and women’s shelters, and the ‘hidden homeless’ who have no home of their own."

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said: “Any decrease in the number of people accessing homelessness is welcome but the Ministers figures cannot be relied on. We need to have independent oversight on these figures.

"Such a small reduction just does not go far enough to tackle the ever growing crisis. The epidemic that is homelessness will worsen unless a proper social & affordable housing build program is implemented.

"The Ministers over reliance on the private sector to fix a social problem just is not working.”

CEO of Barnardos Suzanne Connolly said it was "disappointing that we are beginning a new decade with little or no progress on the issue of child homelessness."

She said: "As we enter a new election period, we [Barnardos] are urging the government and the political system to act collectively to produce a comprehensive strategy to support the thousands of children living in emergency accommodation."

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said the figures show that the housing and homelessness crisis will dominate the 2020 election: "Homelessness causes terrible trauma to any person who suffers it but it is hurting our 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.

"Our family team is working hard to support these children but no family should ever have to go through the painful experience of seeing their children suffering as they have no place to call home. The crisis is also spreading nationwide as nearly 500 families and 1,000 children are now homeless outside of Dublin.”

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