Dublin homelessness figures "appallingly bleak"

The latest report from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive show over 5,000 people were in emergency accommodation last month

New figures show the level of homelessness in Dublin has shot up by over a third in the past year.

The latest report from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive has revealed there were a total of 5,146 adults and children in emergency accommodation last month - a 35% increase in the last year.

The figures surrounding homeless families in the city make for even starker reading - with 1,026 families in homeless accommodation including hotels, a 45% increase on last year.

Homelessness charity, Focus Ireland said 67 families who became newly homeless in October were referred to its family services in Dublin.

The organisation’s Director of advocacy, Mike Allen said the figures paint, “a really appalling, bleak picture” as we head into Christmas.

The number of children without a home has more than doubled over the same time period - from 916 to 2,110.

Mr Allen said the report details “much higher figures than previous years and the numbers keep on going up.”

“It is hugely worrying. It has been so cold over the last few days,” he said.

“The street team that we run jointly with the Peter McVerry Trust have been out every night but there aren’t enough beds for people.”

The Taoiseach says the latest number of people homeless in Dublin is "not satisfactory... you can't deny that".

"You have to do something about it - and we're doing something about that in a very serious way, over the five different pillars of the housing action programme."

The Minister for Housing, Simon Coveney has pledged to put an extra 210 emergency beds in place in Dublin by December 9th and Mr Harris said “the sooner those are in place the sooner we can get people off the streets.

Minister Coveney said the Civil Defence will also provide an extra 20 beds, bringing the nightly emergency accommodation capacity for single adults in the city to 1,800.

“The Dublin Region Cold Weather Plan commenced operation at the start of the month and will be subject to on-going review,” he said.

“It is essential that we have sufficient beds to meet any increased demand during cold weather.”

He said the Civil Defence will also provide an extra 20 beds and said the nightly emergency accommodation capacity for single adults in Dublin now stands at 1,800.

While there has been progress in terms of moving families out of homelessness - Focus Ireland supported 230 Dublin families into secure homes this year - Mr Allen said more people are losing their homes all the time and “the numbers keep on going up.”

The charity said “constantly rocketing rents” and a growing number of buy-to-let homes being either repossessed or sold is causing a constant rise in the homelessness numbers.

Focus Ireland renewed its call for urgent action from the Government to stem the level of evictions, particularly from ‘buy-to-let’ landlords to stem the homeless crisis.

“There are over 15,000 buy-to-let landlords who are in arrears by over 2 years,” said Mr Allen.

“Banks and financial institutions are repossessing these homes and evicting the tenants at a rate of 100 a month.

“We are calling on the Government to outlaw this practice and ensure that that where banks repossess such properties they sell them on with the tenant still in place.”   

Focus Ireland relies on donations at this time of year more than ever to raise vital funds for its work.

You can support the charity’s Christmas appeal by donating at focusireland.ie or 1850 204 205.