Homeless numbers increase to 8728 as Focus Ireland calls for a reintroduction of eviction bans and rent freezes due to recent Covid-19 restrictions
New figures published today show the number of people homeless in July rose slightly to 8728 from a total of 8699 in June – A jump of 29 people.
Focus Ireland has warned of a potential bigger increase in the coming months and has called on the government to reintroduce eviction bans and rent freezes until the Covid-19 virus is controlled.
Focus Ireland has also warned about the occurrence of disruptive evictions at a time of nationwide uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic. The charity believes homeless services across Ireland will be very stretched if a rise of homeless figures coincides with a second wave of Covid-19.
Pat Dennigan, Focus Ireland CEO, said:
“As children across the country go back to school we need to ensure that some of the most vulnerable children do not return to homelessness. The last 6 months have proved that one of the best defences against Covid-19 is a stable home. Measures such as the moratorium on evictions and rent freezes have clearly worked as the number of children and adults who are homeless has reduced significantly in the last five months. Since the lapse of the initial ban on evictions and rent reviews, our services are now meeting tenants who are facing notices of terminations and evictions which is deeply concerning. While the threat of Covid-19 remains I am asking the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien to reintroduce this legislation.”
He added: “While the legislative protections for those who have experienced a financial loss due to Covid-19 from eviction and rent reviews on the grounds of rent arrears are welcome and will protect that category of tenant from homelessness until January 2021, our research clearly shows the majority of notices of termination are due to landlords selling their property. There is currently no measure to prevent an eviction taking place on this ground, including for a person who lost their job due to Covid-19 and is in rent arrears.”
Meanwhile, there are 2651 children in 1142 families homeless according to latest figures from the Department of Housing.