Census data shows 17% of homeless people were employed

Focus Ireland says the data "demolishes many of the myths that people have" about homelessness

Census 2016, CSO, census forms, returned by post, address, Deirdre Cullen

The census form being filled out | Image: Rollingnews.ie

17% of homeless people were employed when the census was taken last year, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has revealed.

The CSO says more than 6,900 people were homeless on April 24th 2016, including 896 families.

1,846 children and teenagers were homeless, of which 1,594 were with their families.

The average age of the homeless population was 31 years - six years younger than the average age of the general population. 14% of homeless people were non-Irish.

Just over a quarter of the homeless population was under the age of 18.

Dave Nugent from 'Inner City Helping Homeless' said the Government needs to do two things urgently to tackle the crisis:

"There needs to be more builds and that is the first thing," he said.

"The second thing is a change to the procurement system.

"The procurement system is what is holding up the new builds. Nobody is talking about the procurement system.

"To get a house built here it is going to take about two-and-a-half years, and the cost on that is about €12,500 I think it was - whereas before it would have been faster and cheaper and now it is not."

Of the 2,915 homeless people in the labour force, 31% (or 17% of the homeless population aged 15 or older) were employed while the remaining 69% were either unemployed or looking for a first job.

12% of those aged 15 or older were unable to work due to sickness or disability, 8% were students, and a small number said they were retired.

73% of homeless people were counted in the Dublin region, while there were 123 rough sleepers nationwide on the night.

The data also reveals that 27% of homeless people indicated they had a disability - double the rate recorded in the general population.

19%, meanwhile, suggested their health was fair, bad or very bad, compared to 9.6% in the general population.

Image: CSO

 

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said the census data "demolishes many of the myths that people have" about homelessness.

He argued: "It shows that people who are homeless look very much like everyone else in the population. This demonstrates the extent to which homelessness is linked to the wider housing crisis that impacts on all sections of society."