The Government has been told to “urgently review” its Rebuilding Ireland strategy after latest homelessness figures showed only a small decrease in the total number of people living in emergency accommodation.
Figures for June showed 10,172 people homeless, including 3,675 children, a fall of 81 compared with the figure for May. More than two-thirds of people in emergency accommodation are in Dublin but Focus Ireland said the crisis was no longer a Dublin problem as there are nearly 1,000 children homeless outside of the city.
The monthly statistics showed 402 homeless people in Cork, 292 in Galway, and 262 in Limerick. Every county had someone in emergency accommodation in June.
Focus Ireland said there has been a 28% rise in the number of homeless people in the last two years and that the number of ‘uncounted’ families — those not included in official statistics — continues to rise in Dublin.
The charity’s director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said Rebuilding Ireland is three years old and had achieved some success, but that a review is now needed to see what could change to tackle the crisis.
“We must always remember that although homelessness is a problem that can be solved, it is wrecking lives and damaging over 10,000 people nationwide,” he said.
“There is a real danger that human stories get lost behind the numbers — especially during the summer months when the politicians are on holidays and people are enjoying the good weather.”
Focus Ireland said its own figures show that one child became homeless every four hours last month in Dublin, while 73 families with 163 children became newly homeless in Dublin in June.
Inner City Helping Homelessness CEO Anthony Flynn said: “Until the political will is there to build proper public housing in vast quantities, we will never see a proper, sustained reduction in these numbers. The fact that we still have 3,675 children homeless is a national disgrace as children need proper homes to develop physically and mentally.”
There were 2,722 children in emergency accommodation in Dublin in June. The comparable figure for the South West was 284, with 199 homeless children in the West, 139 in the Mid-East.