Latest homeless figures show more than 200 extra families in emergency accommodation

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy admits the figures indicate a "very worrying trend"

Latest homeless figures show more than 200 extra families in emergency accommodation

Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Update 16.30

There has been a further rise in the number of families becoming homeless, the latest figures have revealed.

The Department of Housing says there were 1,739 families living in emergency accommodation in February - a rise of 222 compared to January.

The total number of people in emergency accommodation was 9,807, indicating an increase of more than 700 compared to January's figures.

Those figures break down as 6,052 adults and 3,755 children. The number of children compared to 3,267 in the previous report.

Image: Department of Housing

The Housing Minister has admitted that numbers indicate a "very worrying trend".

Eoghan Murphy said: "Following the January report I asked the Dublin Region Homeless Executive for a report on new issues that they informed me had arisen in the course of their outreach work. The DRHE has recently written to me and their report is nearing completion; it is likely that additional policy responses will be needed to address these new trends. 

"I know that the crisis we have in homelessness is very distressing but I hope people understand that every day a huge amount of work is being put in by our teams to both prevent people from entering emergency accommodation and to exit people into sustainable tenancies as quickly as possible. They are doing incredible work and the Government will continue to make all necessary resources available to them."

Reaction

In a joint statement, prominent homelessness campaigners Sr Stanislaus Kennedy and Fr Peter McVerry said they have lost all confidence "in either the ability or commitment of the Government to solve the housing and homelessness crisis".

They observed: "The inability or unwillingness to assure this basic right to tens of thousands of people in Ireland today is an indictment of our society and constitutes an emergency that requires far more radical action than we have seen so far.

"Homelessness in Ireland today is not inevitable and nor should it be considered normal. It can be eliminated if the political will is there.”

Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn said the situation is 'totally unacceptable'.

He argued: “The situation has now spiraled out of control, continuous month on month increases with very little prevention in place in order to stop people becoming homeless.

"The problem falls in the Minister’s desk a reaction to this must be forthcoming. This is the biggest crisis to face us as a society, homelessness has become and epidemic."