A new report has found that the majority of families that fall into homelessness have stable housing histories.
Focus Ireland interviewed 237 homeless families in Dublin and found that nine-out-of-ten had lived in their last home for at least a year before they became homeless
A third of the families had lived in their last home for at least six years.
The report warns that 68% of the families had been living in the private rented centre before they lost their homes.
Over half of these became homeless because their landlord had taken the house off the market – either by selling the property, moving in themselves or losing it to a bank.
The number of homeless families in Ireland has shot by 300% since 2015.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Housing, there were 10,378 people accessing emergency accommodation in April.
Nearly 4,000 of those are children.
Focus Ireland is calling on the Government to develop a specific strategy for family homelessness – warning that those in private rented accommodation are bearing the brunt of the crises.
The charity’s director Mike Allen said the figures confirm that homelessness is happening to a large number of families for purely economic reasons.”
“They have held stable tenancies and the events that are leading to their homelessness are entirely beyond their control,” he said. “They relate to the circumstances and choices made by their landlords.”
“While the recently enacted Residential Tenancies Act (2019) includes many welcome measures – including increased sanctions for the tiny minority of landlords who break the rules – it will do nothing to address the most significant factors which are driving homeless upwards.”
The report entitled, ‘Family Homelessness in Dublin; Causes, Housing Histories, and Finding a Home,’ notes that families are “making extensive efforts to find a new home” with the vast majority attempting to access properties through HAP.
Nearly half said landlords were reluctant to rent properties the HAP tenants.
Majority of homeless families come from private rented sector- as migrants are more likely to be privately renting they are disproportionately represented in recent #homeless figures @MikeAllenFI @FocusIreland @morningireland
— Immigrant Council.ie (@immigrationIRL) June 13, 2019
The research also found that lone mothers, migrants and members of the Travelling community face a disproportionate risk of family homelessness.
Mr Allen said he hope the figures will help counteract “any misconceptions about why families are homeless and the very considerable efforts they are making to find themselves new homes.”
He said the rise in homelessness is “wrong and we must all work together to end this crisis.”
“Focus Ireland publishes this research as a contribution to the national understanding of the crisis, so that we can arrive at more effective solutions,” he said.