May 29th: The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that urgent action is needed to address the homelessness and housing crisis, as new figures show another record number of people in emergency accommodation during April.
The homelessness and housing organisation welcomed the slight decrease in the overall number of children in emergency accommodation from March 2019 to April 2019, but said it was concerned to see the rise in the number of adults in emergency accommodation, which increased by 100 people during the month.
The Simon Communities were responding to figures released for April 2019 by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, which show that 10,378 men, women and children were in emergency accommodation from April 22nd to 28th. This is the third consecutive month that the number of people in emergency accommodation has been higher than 10,000. The new figures show:
• 10,378 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 7.5% since April 2018, when the figure was 9,652.
• 1,729 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 1% from April 2018, when the figure was 1,712 families.
• 3,794 children are stuck in emergency accommodation, an increase of 2.8% compared with April 2018, when the figure was 3,689 children.
Dermot Kavanagh, Chairperson of the Simon Communities of Ireland, says the figures are far too high, and that they point to a private rental market which is struggling and failing to meet the demand.
“The latest numbers sadly highlight the fact that the seemingly relentless upward trend in the number of people in emergency accommodation every month. We cannot allow this situation to continue and to become normalised.
“As people move out of emergency accommodation, more people come in to take their place. This has to be traced back to the lack of an accessible private rental sector, and the absence of sufficient social and affordable housing. The Daft Rental Report released earlier this month showed that the number of homes available to rent on Daft.ie was at its lowest level since the series began in 2006. To combat this, it’s clear that the pace of building much-needed social and affordable homes must be accelerated to meet the demand. There also must be a focus on preventing people from losing the homes they already have.
“We must ensure that people and families do not remain trapped in emergency accommodation long term. As well as those included in these numbers, there are also many thousands more living with housing insecurity, living with daily uncertainty not knowing of they will have a home next week or next month. This is no way for people and families to live.
“The 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 in 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.”
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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.