Focus Ireland calls on Govt to rapidly increase housing supply & prevention measures as new numbers show a new record 12,600 homeless
Record number of 1,804 families homeless as charity warns Govt “safety net” is failing to protect people
Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless in June reached yet another new record at 12,600. The figures show a significant rise of 159 people in one month compared to the 12,441 homeless in May this year. These latest figures also show an overall 20% in homelessness compared to June 2022
The figures also show a new record number of 1,804 families now homeless reaching a level not seen for almost 5 years (the number of families homeless last peaked in July 2018 at 1,778). Focus Ireland maintains this new record, and the loss of all the progress made during the pandemic, is partly due the Government decision to end the no-fault eviction ban at the end of March without an effective plan for dealing with the consequences.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan: “A new record number of families homeless is a terrible blight on our society. This should not be allowed to happen. From November 2019 to April 2021 family homelessness was cut by 45% due to work by Focus Ireland and others in partnership with the State. During the pandemic, the Government response led to the successful implementation of collaborative policies encompassing health and housing, resulting in remarkable outcomes. One of these policies was the eviction ban and another was ensuring families who were homeless got priority for social housing. This proves that the crisis of family homelessness is solvable, and it is very worrying to see the Government backtracking on a successful approach to tackling homelessness.”
Mt Dennigan adds: “Family homelessness has reached this new record primarily because families are finding it harder to secure a new home and move out of homelessness. This means that not only are more families homeless, but they are also stuck in homelessness for longer. These long periods of homelessness do untold damage to families and children. In 2019 there were 167 families homeless for over 2 years in Dublin, while in 2023 there are 233 homeless for that length of time in Dublin. Over the last few months we have seen some of best figures for housing supply for well over a decade and the Government says we have ‘turned the corner on housing’. But the new housing supply is not having any impact on the level of homelessness, it is still rising. This is because there are no vacancies in the private rental sector and Government is not using the new social housing supply to drive down homelessness. People who are long-term homeless are too often at the back of the queue and policies are needed to give them a fairer share of the homes that become available.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Dennigan stressed the importance of the right type of housing supply to help end homelessness and ease the housing crisis in society. He said: “The only long-term solution to ending homelessness in Ireland is a rapid build programme of new social and affordable housing, with allocations to the homes used to drive down homelessness. The reason that our current homelessness and housing crisis exists is because the building of new build social housing ground to a near halt during the austerity years following the Global Financial Crisis. Focus Ireland believes the current housing targets – which have not been met – need to be increased to meet the scale of the crisis. It is also vital that the building programme delivers the type of homes required, which is a good mix of social, rental and purchase which is affordable for families and individuals.”
The June 2023 figures also report 3,765 children homeless.
Contact Conor Culkin: 0879361716