New figures published today by the Dept of Housing show the number of people homeless in August dropped slightly to 8702 from a total of 8728 in July – a drop of 26 people.
Focus Ireland welcomed the drop but the charity also warned of a potential surge in the numbers homeless in the coming months and renewed its call on the government to reintroduce the temporary eviction ban and rent freeze until the Covid-19 virus is controlled.
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 in the Winter months.
Pat Dennigan, Focus Ireland CEO, said: “There is great work being carried out to protect the most vulnerable during this public health emergency. This has been possible due to the excellent partnership work between NGO’s like Focus Ireland and the local authorities, State bodies and Government. There have been many people housed in recent months and measures such as the moratorium on evictions and rent freezes have clearly worked in terms of prevention as the number homeless has reduced significantly in the last six months. However, since the lapse of the initial ban on evictions and rent reviews, our services are starting to meet tenants who are facing notices of terminations and evictions which is deeply worrying.”
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 2620 children in 1120 families homeless according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.
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