Homeless charity 'cannot stand over' homeless figures released by government

Homeless charity 'cannot stand over' homeless figures released by government

Latest: There are calls for the Central Statistics Office to take over the compilation of homeless figures from the Department of Housing immediately.

It follows the latest publication which shows 9,724 people were officially homeless in October - an increase of 26.

3,725 of those living in emergency accomodation were children.

Eoghan Murphy's Department was criticised earlier this year after it removed more than 1,600 people from the figures as part of a recategorisation.

Anthony Flynn from Inner City Helping Homeless has called for a change in how the figures are compiled.

"We cannot stand over the figures released by Eoghan Murphy or his department, I will be writing to An Taoiseach and the opposition leaders today asking that the Central Statistic’s Office immediately take over the compilation of figures, as at present they are not worth the paper they are written on," said Mr Flynn.

According to the charity, 1,606 people were previously removed from the homeless figures.

It says that this led to a disagreement between the department of housing and some local authorities as well as the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) who feel there needs to be more clarity on what is defined as homeless.

In a statement from ICHH, it said: "If you compare the figures to Minister Murphy’s first year in the job there has been a year on year increase of 17% in the number of homeless families and children.

"There has been a 13% increase in the number of homeless adults over that same 12 month period."

Number of homeless people living in emergency accommodation rises to 9,724

The number of homeless people in Ireland has risen to 9,724, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.

It represents a slight rise of 26 people who had to access emergency accommodation in October when compared to the previous month.

Homeless charity 'cannot stand over' homeless figures released by government

3,725 children reported as homeless over the course of the month, while the number of families accessing emergency accommodation in Dublin dropped for the third consecutive month to 1,709.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said it was "important progress for these families".

“There are still too many families and children experiencing this crisis but it’s certainly a positive to see that the number of families in emergency accommodation reduced by 44 in October, including 104 dependants," he said.

This is important progress for these families but we still continue to face a serious challenge and we have to do more.

"Additional funding for family hubs and more social housing will help, and I continue to engage with the chief executives in the four Dublin local authorities to increase the number of successful outcomes in terms of preventing homelessness and moving families out of hotels.”

“The overall increase in people in emergency accommodation can partly be explained by new beds being provided to help take people from rough sleeping and in to our supported services.

"While it is of course better to see people in emergency accommodation rather than out on the streets, we continue to see an increase in the number of adults seeking help," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 14,000 people have signed a Barnardos petition calling on the Minister to place a six-month cap on the use of B&Bs and hotels as emergency accommodation for children.

June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy at the children's charity, said that despite the small drop in the number of people who are homeless, thousands of children are facing into the prospect of spending Christmas in a hotel or B&B room.

"Some of these children are spending their second Christmas in cramped, insecure accommodation without privacy, cooking facilities or space to play with new toys," she said.

"At Barnardos we believe this is unacceptable and 14,207 people have signed our petition to say they agree. We were overwhelmed by the enormous response from the public to our petition. It shows this is an issue people want decisive action on.

Recent re-categorisation of homeless families by the Department of Housing has seen some families in house and apartment-style emergency accommodation removed from the homeless figures despite not having a long-term, secure lease agreement; yet secure, own-door emergency accommodation is what should be provided for all families experiencing homelessness.

"Children experiencing homelessness need and deserve somewhere safe and appropriate to develop, eat, learn, rest and play - just as all children do. Living in cramped hotel or B&B rooms for prolonged periods is proven to have negative effects on children’s physical, social and emotional development and leads to poor mental health for the whole family.

"We urge Minister Murphy to take on board the views and wishes of the thousands of people who have signed our petition and place a cap of six months on the use of hotels and B&Bs to accommodate children experiencing homelessness," she said.

Digital Desk

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