Focus Ireland has marked International Women’s day by highlighting a shocking 158% increase in the number of women homeless in Ireland in just four years.
The total has shot up from 1017 in Jan 2015 to 2619 in Jan this year. That is an increase of 1602 women (158%) in 4 years The overall crisis is continuing to deepen with a record 9,987 people now homeless in Ireland.
The charity said the situation would be much worse without the work of Focus Ireland, it reported it helped over 400 families to secure a home last year in partnership with the State and also prevented many more from losing their homes.
However, Focus Ireland took the opportunity on International Women’s Day to highlight the significant increase in women’s homelessness over the past four years. These figures include women accessing homeless services with their children and women who are experiencing homelessness on their own, including those who may have children who are not in their care.
Focus Ireland Policy Officer Alison Connolly said:
“The crisis has continued to deepen and a record number of nearly 10,000 people are now homeless in Ireland. A harsh reality of this crisis is the increasing and terrible burden being homeless places on women and their children. While experiencing homelessness is immensely difficult for every one of the record number of nearly 10,000 people homeless in Ireland – it is even more so for single parents. Up to 60% of families in homeless services are headed by lone parents, and research shows the vast majority of these are women. The number of women experiencing homelessness on their own has also increased, and the distinct challenges faced by women accessing nightly emergency accommodation must be acknowledged.”
“Ireland still has one of the highest rates of women’s homelessness in Europe, and that figure excludes those residing in domestic violence refuges. We also know that women are more likely to experience ‘hidden homelessness’, staying with friends and family in unsustainable situations and going uncounted in homeless statistics. It is amazing that given these facts there is still no real mention of women in homelessness policy.”
“We must change this. Government housing and homeless policy should acknowledge the specific pressures that affect women and can cause them to become homeless, as well as ensuring women have appropriate supports while experiencing homelessness. A better understanding of the causes of women’s homelessness will contribute to the prevention of homelessness in the first place. Better informed policies would also ensure that when women do become homeless it is for as short a time as possible. We need this for everyone who is homeless. Men, women and children.”
Focus Ireland also repeated its call for a specific family homelessness strategy to be put in place including a cast iron deadline that no family would be homeless for longer than six months. The charity said this six month deadline should apply to all people who are homeless. Meanwhile, Focus Ireland also maintains that the fact that Ireland has one of the highest childcare costs in Europe impacts on women’s access to the labour market. This, along with gender wage gap, and higher rates of part-time employment and in-work poverty among women, can push women – and in particular lone mothers – into poverty and homelessness.
Editor’s notes: The latest homeless figures are always available on our website Here
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