The full scale of the homelessness crisis since 2014 has been outlined in a report showing a 349% increase in the number of families in emergency accommodation in a little over five years.
The new report also shows that the number of people in Private Emergency Accommodation (PEA) in Ireland was almost four times higher in 2019 than in 2014.
The figures are contained in a new report titled Focus on Homelessness, produced by Focus Ireland and the School of Social Work and Social Policy in Trinity College Dublin and based on data compiled by local authorities since 2014.
It tracks 17 key indicators of homelessness over that period and among its findings:
- Outside of Dublin, the number of households in emergency accommodation has increased by 128% since 2014 and climbed above 2,000 for the first time in 2019
- The number of women in emergency accommodation has been growing faster than men over the past six years, a trend partly explained by the growth in family homelessness
- 25-44 year olds make up the majority of the number of adults in emergency accommodation at around 60%
- All age groups have seen a rise in homelessness over the past six years, but the largest rise has been among 45-64 year olds, with a 231% increase since June 2014
- In June 2014, there were just over 300 families in emergency accommodation in Ireland, but as of last December, there were 1,548 families, an increase of 349%
- There were 6,309 adults in emergency accommodation as of December 2019, an increase of 165% on June 2014
In addition to the huge rise in the number of people in PEA, there was a 125% increase in the number of people in Supported Temporary Accommodation, such as family hubs, and a 25% fall in the numbers in temporary emergency accommodation.
According to the report: "In the second-half of 2019, just over 4,000 or two-thirds of households in emergency accommodation were single persons/couples without accompanying children, just over 20% were couples with accompanying child dependents and 15% were individuals with accompanying dependent children.
57% of families in emergency accommodation are one-parent families, compared to 24% of all families in Ireland.
It also found that "on average, people in emergency accommodation tend to be younger than the general population".
Focus Ireland director of advocacy and co-author, Mike Allen, said the report will help refine its services and develop policy recommendations that — if acted upon by Government — will greatly reduce the number of people becoming homeless.
Focus on Homelessness’ will be published quarterly, along with Special Reports looking at specific aspects such as regional variation and levels of public expenditure.