Homeless figures could reach 10,000

Homeless figures could reach 10,000

The homeless figures for July are due out later this week and look set to rise, according to the Housing Minister.

The official homeless figures are still being compiled for the month of July but Minister Eoghan Murphy believes that they are likely to rise on the previous month as people continue to present as homeless.

Speaking on Today with Miriam, Minister Murphy said that the figures could reach 10,000 but said that no matter the figure, the problem remains the same.

"While the numbers obviously are too high, hitting 10,000 doesn't tell us anything that 9,000 didn't tell us which is that we have a very serious crisis."

Mr Murphy said it was his responsibility to fix the problem and that was what he was focused on.

He said the root cause of the homeless crisis was a lack of supply. He also said they were going to hit their target of increasing the housing stock by 50,000 by 2021.

"Last quarter what we saw was about 4,500 new homes were completed. What we actually need to achieve is between 6,000 and 8,500 homes being completed every quarter and then that continuing for a steady period of time," he said.

We have to move away from these violent swings in our housing output where we go from 90,000 homes - which is twice too many - people's property being overvalued and people then falling into massive negative equity.

"Then in a few short years, people living in cramped accommodation, trying to raise a family, they can't afford rent and they certainly can't get the money together for a deposit."

The Fine Gael minister said that he continues to address the issue of supply with Local Authorities and through the Housing Summit series.

He said one in five houses built this year will be social houses and that "that commitment maintains for the next ten years".

He said his Department is reliant on local authorities to build social housing saying that some were building and some weren't and that others were facing significant delays.

There are delays in some councils and if one or two of our councils in particular areas were doing more then we wouldn't have the problems that we are facing when it comes to people who are in emergency accommodation today.

Admitting that it is a "complex process", Minister Murphy said that "it can be fixed".

Despite the continuing number of people presenting as homeless, Mr Murphy believes that the policies that have been put in place are working.

"We have seen a dramatic reduction in the number of people sleeping rough. Using our new Housing First programme, 90% of people who are brought into homes are not falling back into homelessness," Mr Murphy said.

On average, families are spending less than six months in emergency accommodation before they are put into a suitable home, according to the Minister.

Listen to the full interview with Eoghan Murphy below:

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