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Homelessness reaches new record high

Latest figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government make for depressing reading, as homelessness in Ireland has reached another all-time high. Most shockingly, the increase of 7.5 per cent in a month (more than 700 people) was driven mainly by increased child-homelessness.

There are now almost 10,000 homeless people in Ireland. This includes 3,755 children.

The number of homeless children increased by almost 500 between January and February 2018 and is the largest monthly increase since the middle of 2014 when the Department began publishing numbers.

The latest report on homelessness report from the Department shows that for the week measured in late February there were 9,807 people homeless. This includes 3,755 children in 1,739 families. The previous month the Department measured 9,104 people homeless, including 3,267 children in 1,517 families.

In the last year alone, homelessness has increased by a third. Again, this is driven in the main by an increase in child-homelessness which has risen by 47 per cent in 12 months. It's important to note that these huge increases are from already record base-levels.

With new records being set on a regular basis, it is clear that Ireland’s homelessness crisis is spiralling out of control. In our forthcoming Socio-Economic review, which will be released next month, Social Justice Ireland have identified the following priorities that will help to address the current homelessness and accommodation crisis:

  • Provide increased resources for homeless services, focusing on preventative measures and information for persons at risk of homelessness, and an increase in adequate social housing supply prioritised for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with appropriate supports to ensure a reasonable standard;
  • Implement sustainable measures for the immediate elimination of homelessness, both short and long-term.
  • Ensure that the current commitments in the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan are achieved at a minimum, and that more ambitious targets are set;
  • Introduce measures to increase the supply of new social housing stock on the scale required to eliminate the current waiting list and to meet the needs of an expanding population, particularly in urban centres;
  • Explore increased off-balance sheet financing structures aimed at generating sufficient capital to adequately finance the social housing need;
  • Ensure that the development of social housing units secures its long-term sustainability by providing infrastructure and amenities that are suitable to a range of changing demographics.