Charity calls on Government to issue progress plan of actions taken to prepare for end of eviction ban
27th January 2023
Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless has hit another record high of 11,632. This is first time homeless numbers have risen every month in a calendar year since the numbers were first released in 2014. The new figures for December 2022 show an increase of 90 people in one month compared to the 11,542 homeless in November. The figures mean there’s been a shocking 30% rise of the number of people homeless in the last year from 8,917 in Dec 2021 – to 11,632 people in December 2022.
The charity has called these figures ‘shameful’ and said that they should impel the Government to take far more urgent and effective action before the crisis deepens even further.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said, “When we see 30% rise in the last year completely wipe out the massive progress we made during the pandemic in 2021, when figures dropped to below 8,000 people, it is easy to just become despondent, but we need to use this set-back to give us the impetus to take the steps that can change things. Focus Ireland welcomed the Government’s winter eviction ban but warned that it only allowed a ‘breathing space’ for the Government to introduce measures that would have a more lasting impact. We are now half-way through the breathing space that the winter eviction ban creates, and we are calling on the Government to publish a progress report on how it has used this time and what it plans to put in place before the end of the current ban.”
He explains: ‘’The eviction ban is having a short-term positive impact by preventing families from losing their homes, but it does nothing to tackle the long-term shortage of homes which is driving homelessness. While we welcome the positive indications about the overall number of homes built last year, the projections for next year and the continued failure to reach the social housing targets, the number of landlords wanting to sell-up and the new indications that the targets need to be increased all indicate that current plans are insufficient. We need to avoid a situation where numbers skyrocket even further once the measure is lifted in April and a half-time report from Government would give us a clearer idea of how the Government intends to avoid this.”
He adds: “It is crucial to remind ourselves that homelessness is solvable. It is not normal or acceptable and is due to nearly 10 years of poor policies and can be stopped over time by improved measures that are implemented quickly. The failures of successive governments have created a crisis where over 3,400 children will spend their days and nights in emergency accommodation. These are human beings not just figures and too many children, families and single people are suffering trauma caused by homelessness. Ultimately lives are being stolen and we simply cannot accept this as a society.”
The December figures also report 1,594 families with 3,442 children now homeless. Child homelessness has now increased 40% compared to December 2021.
Conor Culkin (he/him)