The number of homeless people in Ireland reached another record high last month, the Department of Housing has confirmed.
In June, there were 12,600 people accessing emergency accommodation - up from 12,441 in May.
Last year in June, the number was 10,492 - meaning the number of homeless people in Ireland has increased 20% in the space of a year.
The two most common reasons people gave officials when presenting as homeless were the breakup of a relationship or family problems (28.2%) and eviction from their home (28.8%).
Focus Ireland said the rise in homelessness was partly due to the Government’s decision not to extend the eviction ban this spring.
“A new record number of families homeless is a terrible blight on our society. This should not be allowed to happen,” CEO Pat Dennigan.
“From November 2019 to April 2021 family homelessness was cut by 45% due to work by Focus Ireland and others in partnership with the State.
“During the pandemic, the Government response led to the successful implementation of collaborative policies encompassing health and housing, resulting in remarkable outcomes. One of these policies was the eviction ban and another was ensuring families who were homeless got priority for social housing.
“This proves that the crisis of family homelessness is solvable, and it is very worrying to see the Government backtracking on a successful approach to tackling homelessness.”
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien described the figures as “very challenging” and said the solution to the crisis was to build more housing.
“The Government, local authorities and those in our NGO sectors are working together and making every effort to reduce homelessness. Tackling this issue is a Government priority,” he said.
“We know that increasing the supply of new homes, particularly social and affordable homes, is key to tackling homelessness.
“CSO figures published on Wednesday show 14,017 homes were completed in the first six months of 2023, a 5.8% increase on the same period in 2022 and the highest number of completions recorded for the first half of any year since the CSO data series began in 2011.
“Commencement figures, published by my department last week show a record 15,561 new homes commenced construction in the first six months of 2023 – the highest number since that data series began in 2015.
“So, we know that supply is increasing and we are going in the right direction.”
The homeless figures record the number of people in State-funded emergency accommodation and do not include those who are sleeping rough or among the ‘hidden homeless’, staying with family or friends.
The figure also does not include people in refuge centres and asylum seekers.
Main image: The tent of a homeless person living on the streets of Dublin City. Credit: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie