New Figures Show Record Number of Single People Now Homeless as Total Rises Above 5,000 for First Time
Latest figures show a total number of 9,825 people without a home nationwide.
New figures show the number of people homeless has risen again in March to a total of 9825 – a jump of 333 people since February.
The figures published by the Department of Housing also report that the number of single people homeless has now risen above 5,000 for the first time.
There were fewer than 2,000 single adults homeless when the data was first published in 2014. The new figures report a total of 5,143 single people homeless in March.
Meanwhile, 1,238 families with a shocking total of 2811 children are homeless nationwide.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “While the number of families homeless fell during the pandemic, during the period when the Government banned no-fault evictions, the number of single people homeless continued to rise month after month during this time.”
“Hitting a new unprecedented level of over 5,000 single people in emergency homeless accommodation in March should be a moment of national shame and deep reconsideration. When homelessness was first described as a ‘crisis’ by a Government Minister in recent years there were around 2,000 single people homeless, so it is hard to find language which describes our current situation. Over the intervening years, we have been much better at building new homeless shelters than we have been at building new social homes, and that must change.”
Focus Ireland said it is deeply concerned with the surge in rental costs with recent figures released by the Resident Tenancies board showing a 9% increase in new rents in the final quarter of last year, across just three months. As well as surging costs, the number of homes available to rent is continuing to fall with landlords leaving the market.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “Despite the number of landlords selling up, and evicting their tenants to do so, it is impossible to point to a single Government initiative which has sought to address this hugely damaging problem. Indeed, most Government initiatives have made it more difficult to be a landlord without making it any more secure to be a tenant.”
“Astronomical rents and soaring inflation mean people are now forced to decide whether to eat, heat or pay the rent. In addition to the rent increases reported by the RTB (Residential Tenancy Board) this week, important Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission research revealed increased discrimination towards renters who received the Housing Assistant Payment (HAP).
“Excessive rent increases and discrimination against people in receipt of HAP have both been illegal for years but remain the everyday experience of thousands of families and individuals. This is due to the failure of successive Governments to turn positive intentions into measures that people can see in their lives.”
Meanwhile, Focus Ireland welcomes Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien outlining that Ireland’s Ukrainian refugee response will be “additional” to Government efforts to tackle the housing/homeless crisis.
Mr Pat Dennigan adds: “Ireland has a humanitarian, moral and legal obligation to help refugees fleeing war, conflict and the destruction of their homes, towns, and cities. The overwhelming majority of Irish people want to provide help and safety to people fleeing the invasion of Ukraine. We need to recognise that our chronic shortage of affordable homes creates profound challenges, this should not preclude the Irish government and Irish people from welcoming refugees fleeing war, persecution, and threats to their safety. We are encouraged that Minister O’Brien corrected some misleading media reports and restated his commitment to delivering on Housing For All promises to address the pre-existing housing and homeless crisis while also pushing for additional and extraordinary measures to meet the new humanitarian challenge of helping Ukrainian refugees. “
“We must and should do both, and we cannot allow it to be an either/or situation. Focus Ireland supports the use of emergency powers to overcome barriers such as land hoarding, persistent vacant and derelict homes, unplanned use of rental properties for holiday rentals and uncommenced planning permissions while ensuring that we do not set aside important safeguards and lessons we have learnt from earlier planning mistakes.
*Note: the number of single adults homeless is not reported directly in the Department of Housing statistics. It can be calculated by taking the figures for ‘Homeless adults, Total’ in the first table’ minus ‘Total adults, Total’ in the family homelessness table.’
Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117