The number of men, women and children living in homeless and emergency housing has crossed the 9,000 mark for the first time since April 2020.
According to the latest data from the Housing Department, a total of 9,099 people, including 2,548 children, were staying in emergency accommodation during the week of November 22-28, 2021.
This compares with 8,830 people, including 2,513 children, who were reported homeless in October 2021. The number of homeless children has increased by 400 in the last six months since May 2021.
Homelessness in Ireland fell significantly during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, down from a peak of more than 10,500 in late 2019. However, the figures have started rising again in recent months.
The last time the homelessness figure crossed the 9,000 mark was in April 2020 when 9,335 people were recorded to be in emergency housing.
Of the 6,551 homeless adults recorded in November 2021, 66 percent were men and 34 percent were women. Of these, about 55 per cent were in the age group of 25-44, while 17 per cent were between 18-24, 27 per cent 45-64 and two per cent were aged 65 years or more.
About 70 percent of homeless people were located in Dublin, while 8 percent were in the counties Cork and Kerry; Five percent were based in Counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon and the other five percent were based in Counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow.
The latest numbers show that 815 homeless families live in Dublin, while 79 are in the West of the country, 63 in the South-West, 60 in the Middle East and 41 in the Mid-West.
The Peter MacVery Trust, a national housing and homelessness charity, said it was “disappointed but not surprised” by the continued rise in numbers and underlined that 359 children have been left homeless in the past three months.
Mr McVery outlined how the eviction ban introduced in October 2020 had led to a “dramatic reduction” in the number of homeless people by about 2,000 and called on the government to enact legislation to reinstate the ban.
Social policy advocate Keith Adams of the Jesuit Center for Faith and Justice said ministerial commitments to additional “better quality” family centers will not reduce the number of children being homeless. “There is a clear moral imperative to stop it because of the harmful effects it has on family life and child development. The eviction ban was the rarest of the housing policy instruments as the positive effects were quickly felt by households in the private rental sector.”
Focus Ireland also expressed deep concern over the latest homelessness figures and warned that if the government committed to ending homelessness by 2030, the numbers were headed in the wrong direction. The landlords issued more than 2,000 eviction notices during the first nine months of 2021. The number of these termination notices has been on the rise since lockdown restrictions were lifted last April, said Mike Allen, Focus Ireland’s director of advocacy.
“Half of termination notices are due to evict landlords to sell, so the government’s proposals for regulation have done little to discourage landlords and do little to protect tenants,” Mr. Allen said.
close to poverty
The Dublin Simon Community warned that financial pressures and rising costs, as well as a rise in COVID-19 cases, are bringing many people “closer and closer to the poverty line” who are already in unstable housing or employment.
Labor housing spokeswoman Rebecca Moynihan said priority should be given to mothers and their children in emergency housing to give them “at least some degree of protection” and not to travel from place to place every night while spending the day in the cold. Have to go , Ms Moynihan called on the housing minister to “freeze rents until excess supply and to ban no-fault evictions and ensure that a tenant can stay in place when a property is sold”.
“If homeless children continue to be treated like this, the rights of the child in the Constitution will not be worth the paper it is written on and we will fail our most vulnerable children.”