Government reports further rise in homelessness

A leading homeless charity is demanding an independent audit of the figures

Homeless, Dublin City Council, safe homes, Uplift, Daithi Doolan,

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

A leading homeless charity is demanding an independent audit of the Government’s homeless figures.

According to the Department of Housing there were 9872 people accessing emergency accommodation in June – up 26 from May.

However, the accuracy of the figures has been called into question in recent months after the Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy claimed a number of people had been wrongly classified as homeless and removed them from the overall figure.

This afternoon, Inner City Helping Homeless claimed the actual figure is “well in excess of 10,000.”

The charity’s CEO Anthony Flynn said up 1,000 people have been removed from the overall figure in the last three months.

“The Minister has continuously recategorised people,” he said.

“He has stated that this hasn’t happened this month. We have up to 1,000 people over the last four months that have been recategorised out of homelessness.

“The Minister’s office is not independently verifying figures – if anything they are taking people out of section 10 funding over the last couple of months and we need these figures independently audited.”

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn

Government figures

The figures for June, released this afternoon, highlight a slight rise in the number of homeless people in Ireland - 9872 people accessing emergency accommodation in June.

There were 30 more families experiencing homeless than in May – rising from 1,724 to 1,754.

However, the number of homeless children dropped by two from 3,826 to 3,824.

Minister Murphy welcomed the drop in the number of children – and claimed the figures indicate a “stabilisation” of the homeless crisis.

“Obviously any increase in people accessing emergency accommodation is unwelcome but it is good to see a decrease in the number of children and we are seeing a continued stabilisation of the numbers of people in emergency accommodation,” he said.

He said a separate survey examining “categorisation issues” is underway. He said “no miscategorisations were identified and corrected” in June. 

Recategorising homelessness

Mr Flynn said homeless services “continue to be in turmoil, whilst the Minister welcomes a reduction of two dependants as a victory.”

He insisted that the “housing crisis is getting worse and has done so under Eoghan Murphy’s watch.”

“He doesn't want that marker to go over 10,000," he said.

"He is adamant that he keeps it below that; he has succeeded in keeping it below that but he has only succeeded by removing people and recategorising people.

"He hasn't succeeded by actually putting people into homes or building social housing in order to tackle the problem."

He said Government policy is creating a homelessness tsunami “by continuing to push people into the private rental sector with HAP payments and no proper security of tenure.”

“We have more homeless than we ever had before in the history of the State with no indication of the problem alleviating any time soon,” he said.

Survey

Minister Murphy insisted “solutions are being delivered” and noted that 4,729 people exited homelessness into an independent tenancy last year.

“However, the continuing number of presentations to homeless services means that too many people continue to rely on emergency accommodation,” he said.

He said the Government has now agreed to allocate additional resources to preventing homelessness as a result of family breakdown.

He said family breakdown is “one of the major drivers of homelessness identified in the recent report submitted to me by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.”