The number of homeless people accessing emergency accommodation in August 2023 was a record 12,691. This represents an increase of 50 per cent since Housing for All was introduced and 94 per cent since the previous strategy, Rebuilding Ireland, was launched in July 2016. This Government is presiding over the worst homelessness crisis on record. The current strategy is not working and Budget 2024 has not provided any alternative solutions.
Family homelessness has increased by 88 per cent since the introduction of Housing for All. In August 2023 1,886 families, including 3,895 children, accessed emergency accommodation. According to the Quarterly Performance Report Q2 2023, almost 2 in 5 families accessing emergency accommodation were doing so for more than 12 months, while 15 per cent were in the system for more than 2 years. A similar pattern emerges for single-person households accessing emergency accommodation, with 35 per cent in the system for more than 12 months and 15 per cent for more than 2 years.
Budget 2024 missed the opportunity to use the additional allocation of €242 million to extend Housing First to children and families, instead increasing payments to providers of emergency accommodation. This Government has failed to heed the warnings of human rights organisations on the risks of institutionalising families, risks which are particularly prevalent for children.
Our full analysis of Budget 2024 is available now: Budget 2024 Analysis and Critique | Social Justice Ireland