December 21st 2018:
The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that it is deeply worrying to see the year close with almost 10,000 people in emergency accommodation. The total number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation now stands at 9,968, according to figures released for November 2018 by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The figures report:
• 9,968 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 12.5% from since November 2017, when the figure was 8,857.
• 1,728 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 13% since November 2017, when the figure was 1,530 families.
• 3,811 children are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 14.5% when compared with November 2017, when the figure was 3,333 children.
Paul Sheehan, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, says the figures underline a disturbing end to the year in the area of housing and homelessness:
‘It’s unacceptable that 9,968 people are facing into Christmas and the New Year with no certainty about their living situation. This sadly rounds out a year which saw a significant escalation in Ireland’s homelessness crisis. The number one reason behind the increase of these numbers each month is the lack of secure, affordable housing. Without an accessible private rental sector or social and affordable housing, people have little hope of finding a place they can afford to call home. They are caught in a nightmare situation. The Emergency Accommodation Figures represent the real effect of this housing crisis on men, women and children, yet it is sadly just the tip of the iceberg in terms of housing insecurity. These monthly figures don’t include rough sleepers or those in squats, women and children in refuges, those is direct provision or people who are ‘hidden homeless’; those staying with family or friends as they have nowhere else to go. Security of tenure and rent certainty are critical to prevent homelessness. There must a concerted focus on preventing people from losing the homes that they have.
It is also important to note that the majority of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) recipients are not included on the main social housing waiting list as the State deems their social housing needs met. This is problematic as tenants in the private rental sector, including HAP recipients, have poor security of tenure and lack rent certainty. Most HAP recipients are on the social housing transfer lists but the Government does not publish these figures.’
Paul Sheehan, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that the increase in numbers are reflected in the work that the Simon Communities in Ireland continue to do on the ground.
‘Our latest annual report showed that there was a 60% increase in people availing of Simon Community emergency, housing and support services between 2015 and 2017. All figures indicate that 2018 is also on track to be another year where these services are more needed than ever. Our Communities are doing all they can working with our voluntary and statutory partners to house and support people who have been impacted by the housing and homelessness crisis.’
The Simon Communities deliver support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
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Tel: 085 806 5141
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 11,000 men, women and children. We have almost 50 years of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level. Whatever the issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information, please log on to www.simon.ie
• Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement.
• Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction.
• Housing with support and Housing First services.
• Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports).
• Personal development, education, training and employment services.
• Foodbanks, drop-in centres and soup runs.