Focus Ireland said it is deeply concerned that the number of homeless has risen for the 6th month in a row as figures published today show 9099 people homeless in November.
Figures from the Department of Housing show this is a rise of 269 from the 8830 people homeless in October 2021. There are now 1108 families homeless nationwide with 2548 children homeless within these families, most of whom faced a bleak homeless Christmas. This is an increase of 35 children and 26 families since October.
Focus Ireland said that it fully supports the Government’s ‘Homes for All’ commitment to end homelessness by 2030 and is committed to working with Government to achieve it. However, the charity warned that the figures are going in the wrong direction to achieve the 2030 commitment – after months of falling homelessness during the early stages of the pandemic, when tenants had additional protections, homelessness is again on an upward path with the number of people homeless this November now 615 higher than in November 2021 (8,484).
Urgent action, particularly to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place, needs to be taken to reverse this worrying trend. Focus Ireland welcomed the priority being given to this issue by the new Homeless Action Committee, with Focus Ireland CEO, Pat Dennigan planning to bring a series of proposals to the next meeting.
Focus Ireland, Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen said: “This latest increase in homelessness is a stark reminder that high rents are continuing to put families and individuals under increased pressure as the impact of the pandemic is also taking a very heavy toll on low-income households. Landlords issued over 2,000 eviction notices in the first 9 months of last year – more than in the whole of last year (1,902). ”
”The number of notices of termination has steadily increased since lockdown restrictions were lifted in April. Half of the notices of termination are due to landlords evicting to sell up, so the Government’s proposals for regulation have done a lot to discourage landlords and very little to protect tenants. This is highly worrying at any time but especially when the number of Covid-19 cases has risen so much again.”
Focus Ireland said there was good progress made to reduce the numbers of homeless by over 2,000 people during the pandemic but that it is distressing to see this hard-won progress being lost and the numbers steadily rising again. Mr. Allen said: “Our family services staff work to support children and their families while homeless and last year Focus Ireland – in partnership with the State – helped 880 families to secure a home. We have long called on successive Governments to commit to ending homelessness. So, we strongly welcomed the government commitment in Housing for All to end homelessness by 2030 and are committed to working with Government to achieve that.”