Focus Ireland warn homeless figures will continue to rise with landlords leaving in significant numbers as latest stats show 9,492 people are without a home
The number of people who are homeless has risen again as figures published by the Department of Housing show 9,492 people homeless in February. This is a significant increase of 342 from 9,150 homeless in January.
The latest figures also show there are 3,256 single adults in Dublin who are in emergency accommodation, which is the highest number on record.
The charity is alarmed with the sheer number of landlords leaving the market with a 60 % increase in eviction notices in compared to the previous year according to the Residential Tenancy Board (3,038 evictions to 2021 compared to 1,902 in 2020). There was a significant increase in notices to quit in the second half of 2021 when the covid-19 related eviction ban ended, and this trend continued for the rest of the year. Figures from the RTB also revealed that in early 2020, 50% of landlords stated that their reason for eviction was an intention to sell which increased to 64% at the end of 2021.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “What’s clear is the number of landlords leaving the market is having a direct affect on the consistent increase in homeless figures over the past 6 months. It’s a reality that the most vulnerable are relying on the unpredictable private rental market where options are scarce across the country. The government needs to do more to ensure landlords stay in the market and as well as delivering on its commitment to build more affordable accommodation. Additionally, the government priority must be protecting vulnerable tenants from evictions as we now facing homeless climbing above 10,000.”
Mr Dennigan added: “The most depressing aspect of these figures is the high number of children in emergency accommodation as parents are overwhelmed with the accommodation crisis as well as the dramatic inflation surge. All homelessness is wrong, but it hurts children the most as it causes trauma, contributes to malnutrition, and can cause long-term damage. Our services are now reporting there are vulnerable parents with two full-time incomes who are unable to afford childcare, forcing a parent to quit their employment to look after their children. The cost-of-living crisis for lone parents is even more severe. The government must ensure that these children who are homeless have greater assistance such as more child support workers and a taskforce must be set up to review the impact of housing insecurity and to develop solutions”
The February figures report a total of 1,180 families with 2,667 children homeless compared – a significant increase of 61 families and 104 children homeless when compared to the previous month.