Rising number of homeless in Dublin as housing forum takes place

208 families became homeless in the first two months of the year

Homeless, Dublin, Focus Ireland, Simon Community, Niamh Randall, forum, housing, homelessness

The Homeless Jesus sculpture outside Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

New figures show that 83 families became homeless in Dublin in February.

Focus Ireland say this means that 208 families and 363 children have become homeless in the first two months of this year - after a total of 125 families became homeless in January.

Focus Ireland director of advocacy Mike Allen said: "These numbers clearly show that the family homeless crisis is continuing to deepen with over 200 families becoming homeless in the first two months of 2016 compared to a total of 739 becoming homeless during the whole of last year".

"It's not enough for this caretaker government and the next government to say they want to tackle homelessness and name check it as a priority".

"They have to commit to a coherent set of actions required to achieve this urgently", he added.

It comes as a forum on housing and homelessness is being held in the capital today.

Acting Ministers Alan Kelly and Paudie Coffey will attend, along with representatives from non-governmental and State organisations.

The Simon Communities in Ireland, who are also attending, said the opportunity to meet and have discussions is always welcome - but what is needed now is coordinated action.

It says the number of people experiencing homelessness has grown "substantially worse" in the 14 months since the Emergency Homeless Summit in December 2014.

There are 5,715 men, women and children in emergency accommodation - an increase of 49% over the course of 2015.

It adds that there are 1,830 children, an increase of 111%, and 884 families, an increase of 120%.

Simon also says that 2,694 adults without dependants in their care are also in emergency accommodation "with no prospect" of finding a home anytime soon.

Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast.