Minister admits progress on tackling homelessness "too slow"

Figures show 690 families are still living in hotels

Minister admits progress on tackling homelessness "too slow"

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy attending the launch of social housing units in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has admitted progress on tackling homelessness is too slow.

But he says the number of homeless families in hotels in Dublin is falling.

He was commenting in the Dáil after new national figures showed a record of number of over 8,300 people are now in emergency accommodation.

Minister Murphy says there are signs of improvement in Dublin.

"I know it's too slow, I know we need to do more - the Government recognises that.

"That's why we've increased our funding for homelessness and services next year, we've also increased our HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) supports for next year as well - as committed to in the budget for 2018.

"There are still 690 families in hotels.

"Any one family in a hotel or B&B is one too many, but it is significantly down on the high point that was reached in March earlier this year".

While homelessness charity Focus Ireland has called for greater Government action to stop buy-to-let landlords evicting families.

New figures show children now make up nearly one-in-four of the country's homeless population.

But the Government is highlighting a drop in the number of homeless families in Dublin, for the second month running.

Focus Ireland spokesperson Roughan McNamara says the Government should be trying harder to keep families in their homes.

"The really shocking thing about these figures is 37% now of the total number of people homeless is made up of children under 18.

"And while there is some good work being done to lift more families and children out of homelessness, we still believe the Government needs to do more to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place".