Focus Ireland Launches Campaign As Number of People Aged 65+ Who Are Homeless Has Shot up 40% in the Last Two Years

Focus Ireland Launches Campaign As Number of People Aged 65+ Who Are Homeless Has Shot up 40% in the Last Two Years


The charity said it is shameful that there are elderly people in this age group who are homeless and that they can also often face additional problems including poor health, isolation and shame at their position.   People can add their name to the campaign calling for action here.


Recent Department of Housing statistics show that in February 2018 there were 119 people aged over 65 living in emergency homeless accommodation, up over 40% in just two years. Focus Ireland outreach services reported up to 10 older people who are vulnerable to sleeping rough, many of them with serious health and mobility issues.


Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “It is shameful for our Government and society that we have seen a 40% rise in the number of people over 65 who are homeless.  Every man, woman and child should have a place they can call home, and the housing and homeless crisis is hitting the most vulnerable people throughout our society.”


“Over the last number of weeks Alone and other organisations working with older people have highlighted the broader issues of housing insecurity for older people, and the absence of Government policy to respond to this growing issue. Our campaign builds on that awareness and highlights the extreme consequences of inaction for a small number of people.


“It is totally wrong and unacceptable to see older people, many of whom have worked all their lives and now find themselves without a home at that particularly vulnerable age when they need a sense of security in their own home so that we can enjoy their golden years.  There are also people in this position who have been let down time and time again by successive governments over the years and now to find themselves homeless when they are pensioners.”


He added: “The scale of the homeless crisis can sometimes seem overwhelming as there are now nearly 10,000 people homeless and the Government has completely abandoned targets for ending any aspect of the problem. However, the scale of homelessness among our older people is small enough – and the impact of it is so damaging – that it should be a realistic priority for the Government to eliminate older people’s homelessness, as a first step to tackling the overall problem.  This is one aspect of homelessness that could be tackled and eliminated in a number of weeks not months are years.”


The causes of homelessness among older people have not been specifically researched, but they are often seen to be, in many cases, similar to the causes for everyone else – increased rents in the private rented sector, evictions as landlords sell-up.  It can also be due to ill-health and other issues.


Mr. Allen explained:  “Analysis by Alone shows that people living in private rented accommodation are particularly vulnerable to homelessness, even where their accommodation seemed secure during while they were of (traditional) working age. Many older people are forced to continue in the workforce simply to afford high private rents.”


Adopting the target of eliminating homelessness among older people should be followed by a series of specific actions:


–        Requesting each regional authority to prepare a report on the level and causes of older people’s homelessness in their area, including the level of rough sleeping.

–        Request each regional authority to establish a ‘Older Persons Homeless Action Team’ involving local authorities, HSE, relevant NGOs, to prepare dedicated support plans each older homeless person, including looking at appropriate options of housing and nursing care.

–         Ensuring each older homeless person has a dedicated key worker

–         Making all people who are homeless and over 65 are eligible Homeless HAP, irrespective of where they are living in the country


Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117 or Alan Neary – 086 468 0442

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