The Simon Communities of Ireland have noted that while the number of people in emergency accommodation declined slightly over the Christmas period, an additional 234 people accessed emergency accommodation in January. 3,624 children were among those in emergency accommodation from January 21st to 27th, according to new figures from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. According to the new figures:
- 9,987 men, women and children are in emergency accommodation, an increase of 9.7% since January 2018, when the figure was 9,104 people.
- 1,614 families are now in emergency accommodation, up 6.4% since January 2018, when the figure was 1,517 families.
- 3,624 children are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 11% when compared with January 2018, when the figure was 3,267 children.
Paul Sheehan, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that the Government must act urgently to prevent these numbers continuing to grow throughout the rest of 2019.
“It is extremely unfortunate that almost 10,000 people have had to start the new year without having access to the basic human need of a place to call home. Living in emergency accommodation is a very stressful experience, and any increase in the numbers of people having to rely on these services is always a concern. We must not forget those people not included in these figures; people sleeping rough or surviving in squats, women and children in refuges, people in direct provision and those who are ‘hidden homeless’ - people staying with family or friends as they have nowhere else to go. Every person has their own story; what is common to all is that homelessness and housing insecurity is traumatic, stressful and filled with uncertainty. The Simon Communities see this impact each and every day across the country.
“We know that many people entering emergency accommodation are doing so because they have been forced out of the private rental sector. Security of tenure and rent certainty are critical to preventing homelessness. Without an accessible private rental sector or affordable housing, people have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent; this isn’t fair. While the pace of building much-needed social and affordable homes is improving, it must be accelerated to meet the demand as there is currently an overreliance on the private rental sector. We urge the implementation of many of the proposals included in the new amended Residential Tenancies Bill 2018, currently under consideration in the Dáil.
“The 9,987 people trapped in emergency accommodation need secure and affordable homes, with support where needed. There must be a collective focus on developing solutions to end this crisis once and for all. For that reason, the Simon Communities of Ireland believe it is vital that the State, in conjunction with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, continue to build and invest in social and affordable housing across all tenure types nationwide.”
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 13,000 men, women and children. We have 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 visit 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.
• Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs.
For media queries and interview requests
Communications & Campaigns Officer
Tel: 085 806 5141