As new numbers show 24% rise in homelessness in last year Focus Ireland warns ending the eviction is already causing widespread fear & trauma in society

Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless in February was 11,742.

Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless in February was 11,742.

This is a 24% rise in homelessness in the last year. 

The new figures for February 2023 show a slight drop of 12 people in one month compared to the 11,754 homeless in January 2023.  

Focus Ireland said that lifting the eviction ban is a ‘heartless’ decision that is already causing widespread fear in our society among people facing eviction and even many who are not currently at risk. 

The charity added that the failure of the Government to listen to homeless organisations warnings that front line services will really struggle to cope with rising homelessness is deeply alarming.  

Focus Ireland Head of Media Communications Roughan Mac Namara said: “We have been talking about a homelessness and housing crisis for over ten years and it is hard to believe how heartless this decision is to lift the eviction ban. We had warned the Government that this decision means we are about to enter a new phase of homelessness where we are likely to see families sleeping on the street because they have been evicted and emergency accommodation is full. Focus Ireland and other organisations work closely with the Government, meeting on a regular basis and we feel have been completely ignored as we have been warning about this reality.” 

He adds: “Nothing has changed since the eviction ban was introduced in November and lifting it will do nothing to allay fears for landlords as they are selling up in vast numbers because of high taxation and market uncertainty. We expect to see more terminations from landlords who have been unsettled by the Government’s stop-start approach to this issue.” 

Focus Ireland also said the new schemes set to be introduced which have been described by Government as a “safety net” for renters will not be effective in preventing many more people from losing their homes in the coming months. 

Mr. Mac Namara said: “The Government believes these measures – such as the tenant in situ scheme – could potentially offset the expected wave of evictions. We welcome any positive actions to prevent homelessness, however, many of these plans are clearly not fully thought through, not fully ready and even Local Authorities have already said they will take months to complete. The breathing space provided by the moratorium has not been used properly.”

“Our advice and information teams around the country are getting calls and emails every day from families, single people, even old age pensioners who are facing eviction and it really is an awful situation. However, we will continue to campaign and propose positive solutions based on the experience of the people who come to us for help.” 

He concluded: “One thing the Government could do right away is to ensure there is a greater focus on vulnerable families without a home who need to be prioritised for social housing which will help to lift many more people out of homelessness. There are now 3,373 children without a home, and we must take every action possible to help end this awful human crisis.” 

The February 2023 figures report 1,599 families with 3,373 children homeless. 

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