Local authorities will spend nearly €350m on homeless accommodation this year, according to Focus Ireland.
Around 80% of that (€280m) is expected to go on emergency accommodation.
The homeless charity’s latest ‘Focus on Homelessness’ report investigates how much public money is spent on supporting households experiencing homelessness.
It notes that local authorities spent more than €2.1 billion on homeless accommodation between 2009 and 2022.
Some €1.7 billion of that was spent between 2014 and 2022, when the number of people in homeless accommodation surged from 2,419 to 6,677.
The annual expenditure has increased significantly every year since 2014, reaching just over €300 million last year.
This year is expected to see the biggest surge in spending since 2020, falling just short of €350m.
Focus Ireland Head of Advocacy Mike Allen said the focus on emergency accommodation has achieved very little.
“It doesn’t change people’s circumstances so if you provide shelter for one night and you don’t change people’s circumstances, you have to provide shelter for the next night and the next night,” he said.
“That is why we keep on building up homelessness.
“So, we are arguing that those are passive measures. They don’t change somebody’s situation and we need to be redirecting our resources much more towards active measures.”
The report notes that the vast majority of local authority spend on homeless accommodation now goes on emergency accommodation.
In 2013, emergency accommodation accounted for around 53% of all spending; however, that figure was estimated at over 80% last year.
Between 2013 and 2022 just short of €1.2bn was spent on emergency accommodation.
The rest of the spending went on day services, long-term supported accommodation, homeless prevention and administration costs.
Mr Allen said the Government must now focus on more long-term active measures – including supporting training and creating jobs in the construction sector.