Criticism over latest homeless figures with nearly 300 people 'reclassified'

Several charities have called for an explanation

Criticism over latest homeless figures with nearly 300 people 'reclassified'

A man is pictured begging on the Ha'penny Bridge in Dublin | Image: Leah Farrell /Rollingnews.ie

There has been criticism of new homeless figures published by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) say while the overall figure has dropped slightly by 29 people from March, people have been removed under Minister Eoghan Murphy's reclassification project.

It says 297 people were removed by Dublin and Meath county councils - meaning the total number of people homeless as per the April report is 9,652 which is a slight reduction.

But the ICHH says: "Yet again we are seeing people being removed without any proper explanation as to why.

"After last month’s figures were released it transpired that some county councils refused to reclassify people that were in accommodation funded by section 10 funding without any security of tenure.

"The councils advised that the peoples housing needs weren’t met.

"We saw an increase of 43 children currently homeless across the State.

"The minister needs to explain why people in section 10 funded accommodation are being removed from the overall figures."

The Simon Communities say it is unclear why 317 people have been removed from the numbers.

It also says the numbers of people in emergency accommodation "remains far too high" at 9,652.

Niamh Randall, spokesperson for the Simon Communities, says: "It is unclear why these people have been excluded from the numbers except that’s they are ‘living in homes’.

"We urgently request more detail on this; if these are individuals and households without a tenancy or license agreement in place they should be included in the figures until they have a more permanent, secure arrangement in place such as a HAP or social housing."

Focus Ireland says responsibility for publishing homeless figures should be taken away from the Government.

The charity is calling for the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to take over.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy | File photo

In a statement, Minister Murphy says a "categorisation issue arose" in the compilation of the March figures and was corrected.

"Ongoing work in this area in the context of the April report has identified a further 18 households in Meath (45 people) and 65 households in Dublin (252 people) who are in homes rather than in emergency accommodation.

"The figures in the report reflect this", he says.

The department says it has written to each local authority, seeking details on the accommodation categories for the individuals and families being recorded as being in emergency accommodation in the March homelessness report.

"Given the critical importance of exiting families and children from emergency accommodation, it is crucial that our reporting systems allow us to measure progress in meeting this challenge," the statement adds.

The report can be found here