Data collection and housing-led policy are key to tackling homelessness
Following triple-digit rates of increase in child and family homelessness since 2014, a decrease in the number of homeless people accessing emergency accommodation was evident in the months of November and December 2019. A month-on-month decrease in December figures is expected, as Christmas approaches and more emergency beds are made available, however the decrease in November is unusual. Is this a statistical anomaly or is child and family homelessness really decreasing? With the state of data collection on homelessness in Ireland described as “statistical obfuscation if not corruption” in a 2019 report commissioned by the European Commission, it can be hard to tell. There is a need for robust data collection in all policy areas, but particularly those affecting the most vulnerable. In its Policy Brief on Affordable Housing: Better data and policies to fight homelessness in the OECD, the OECD looks at ways to improve data collection, and therefore evidence-based policies, on homeless.