Majority of homeless families had rented privately: Study

The majority of homeless families had rented privately before losing their homes, according to a new study.

A study of more than 230 families by Focus Ireland has shone a light on the major factors contributing to homelessness in Dublin. Some 68% of the families reported their last stable home was in the private rented sector. Of families, 86 said they became homeless because their landlord had decided to stop renting out the property, opting to sell it, moving in themselves, or seeing the property repossessed by the bank.

The report shows the majority of families who became homeless had stable housing histories and nine out of 10 respondents had lived in their last stable home for over a year, with 33% having lived in their last stable home for over six years.

Among the findings were:

  • 60% of families had stable housing histories with lengthy tenancies;
  • 58% became homeless due to issues directly related to their private rented sector home, eg, rent affordability, landlord selling up or using the property for a family member, renovation;
  • 36% became homeless due to the landlord leaving the market;
  • 56% of families were originally from outside Ireland but a majority had lived here for many years before becoming homeless, with 80% of these households having their last stable home in the rental sector;
  • 92% of families had lived in their last stable home for 12 months or more, 58% between one and six years, and 33% over six years;
  • 58% were one-parent families while 41% were two-parent families.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen said: “This clear information informs our work with the State to refine our family services and to also develop policy recommendations that, if acted upon by Government, would help to greatly reduce the number of families becoming homeless.

“The research is reinforcing the evidence from our previous work, which shows that homelessness is happening to a large number of families for purely economic reasons. They have held stable tenancies and the events that are leading to their homelessness are entirely beyond their control —they relate to the circumstances and choices made by their landlords.”

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