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Homelessness

Our 2019 Social Policy Conference was titled "The Challenges of Success" and looked at the appropriate policy responses to Ireland's changing demographics.
Click here to download slides and papers from the conference, watch videos of the presentations, see our handy summary graphics, or download the entire conference booklet for free.

Rebuilding Ireland srategy is not working. Given that this strategy fell far short of the scale of the response required in the first place, the failure to deliver the modest targets in all five pillars is a major indictment of Government policy. At our 32nd Annual Social Policy Conference, we reviewed the Government's housing strategy from the perspective of the young and old living in Ireland today and found it wanting.

€147 million was spent on Emergency Accommodation for homeless peopled in 2018.  A mere fraction of this (less than €10 million) was spent on prevention.  In allocating €166m between emergency accommodation and homelessness prevention in Budget 2020, Government refused to change a policy that simply isn't working and, instead, look for real solutions.  

To achieve the objectives of providing adequate and appropriate accommodation in sufficient numbers, reducing social housing waiting lists and eliminating homelessness, Government must pursue the following four proposals in Budget 2020.

In 2017, the Government introduced Family Hubs as an alternative to hotels and B&Bs and described as a “first step” for families experiencing homelessness.  Later that year, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) warned of the risks associated with Family Hubs, of institutionalising families and normalising family homelessness.  This warning was ignored, with Minister Murphy urging local authorities to build more rapid build Family Hubs at the Second Housing Summit in January 2018, and increased funding for Family Hubs provided in Budget 2019. 

A report published by the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) this week (18 April 2019) shows just how prescient IHREC’s warnings were, as children as young as 10 describe their living conditions as being “like a prison”.

A full analysis of the policy challenges in housing and our proposed policy response is contained in Social Justice Matters: 2019 guide to a Fairer Irish Society.  The chapter is available below.


Social Justice Ireland’s
annual Socio-Economic Review is entitled Social Justice Matters. This book is about charting a course to a better Ireland. At the foundation of that is the model of development we follow.

Homelessness influences every facet of a child’s life from conception to young adulthood and the experience of homelessness inhibits the physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and behavioural development of children.

Recent commentary that homelessness in Ireland is ‘normal’ is completely without foundation.  As the economy has continued to improve, the homelessness and housing crises have worsened.  Family and child homelessness have increased by over 320 per cent since 2014.  This is not normal, this demands an emergency response.

700,000 on healthcare waiting lists, 500,000 homes without broadband, over 11,000 people homeless – a result of Government policy failing to tackle causes - Social Justice Ireland publishes National Social Monitor Winter 2018.

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