Housing charities want extension of rent freeze as latest homeless figures are released

Housing charities are warning a sudden lifting of the rent freeze may cause a spike in the number of people homeless.
Housing charities want extension of rent freeze as latest homeless figures are released
The latest homelessness figures exclude rough sleepers, people in direct provision centres and those in women's refuges.

Housing charities are warning a sudden lifting of the rent freeze may cause a spike in the number of people homeless.

Latest figures from the Government for April show 9,335 people accessed emergency accommodation, including more than 3,000 children.

This is a reduction of 572 on the previous month.

However, the figures exclude rough sleepers, people in direct provision centres and those in women's refuges.

There is a temporary freeze on rents and a ban on evictions until later this month due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dermot Murphy, from De Paul, says every effort needs to be made to ensure the figures don't rise again.

Mr Murphy said: "Any potential return to the way things were prior and the potential for any increase in homelessness post Covid-19, I think what we are saying is that the right measures that have been implemented with things like the rent freeze should continue for a longer period of time to ensure that we don;t see an increase in homeless figures going forward."

Inner City Helping Homless CEO Anthony Flynn said his group has also seen a big reduction in new presentations which in his opinion, shows people would stay with family or friends during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown rather than register as homeless and enter emergency accommodation.

Mr Flynn said “The reduction in the number of people in emergency accommodation is welcomed and proves that a ban on evictions within the state works as we have seen numbers drop for two consecutive months.

"But we must be tentative in lifting this ban this year as it will see an avalanche of evictions. Many who have lost jobs through the Covid19 pandemic will face evictions and the system will not cope.

"Moving people to short-term holiday lets will also mean many will move back into homelessness when the tourist industry rebuilds. We have a prime opportunity to change the narrative regarding homelessness and we must continue on that footing and not revert to old ways.”

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up