10,264 people were accessing emergency accommodation between February 18th and 24th, including 3,784 children, according to new figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. The latest figures report:
• 10,264 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 4.7% since February 2018, when the figure was 9,807.
• 1,707 families are living in emergency accommodation, a decline of 1.8% from February 2018, when the figure was 1,739 families.
• 3,784 children from families are in emergency accommodation, an increase of 0.8% compared with February 2018, when the figure was 3,755 children.
Paul Sheehan, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that it is troubling and frustrating to see the number of people in emergency accommodation breach the 10,000 mark for the first time.
“This is a frustrating number for Government, Local Authorities, NGOs, Charities and state agencies to grapple with. There is no silver bullet to solve this. All agencies would recognise that the lack of secure, affordable housing and insecurity in the rental market is at the heart of the crisis. A number of factors need to be addressed on multiple levels and areas in order to combat the increase.
We need to start providing social and affordable housing across all tenure types within sustainable communities nationwide at the scale that is needed. There also must be a concerted focus on prevention, to ensure that people don’t lose their homes in the first place. The fact that over 10,000 men, women and children are now depending on emergency accommodation represents a milestone that the Simon Community hoped it would never witness in its 50 years of work. And these figures don’t reflect the full picture. People rough sleeping, or those in squats, parents and children in refuges, those in direct provision and the ‘hidden homeless’ - those staying with family or friends as they have nowhere else to go – are not counted among the 10,264.”
The Simon Communities acknowledged Minister Murphy’s statement that reforms to the rental sector are due to come before cabinet in the coming days. Paul Sheehan, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that proposals under consideration in relation to Residential Tenancies Bill are needed in order to strengthen tenant protections in the private rented sector. This would help ensure that fewer people find themselves at risk of being pushed into homelessness.
“In particular, the proposals to address many of the loopholes in the existing bill around tenants’ security of tenure and minimum standards in rented accommodation could potentially make a huge difference to the lives of those who currently live with a lack of secure housing.”
In 2017, the Simon Communities of Ireland delivered support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 13,000 people and families at risk or experiencing homelessness.
For media queries and interview requests
Communications and Campaigns Officer,
Simon Communities of Ireland.
Tel: 085 806 5141
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.