The Simon Communities in Ireland have welcomed the decline in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation in December, while stressing that the overall figure remains too high. The charity also noted that seasonal factors must be taken into account in considering the latest figures, which saw a decrease of 717 people in emergency accommodation since November.
The total number of men, women and children in emergency accommodation now stands at 9,731, according to figures released for December 2019 by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. This is the second month in which the numbers have fallen, and December marked the first time that the number of people fell below 10,000 since February 2019. The new figures show:
• 9,731 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 22 people since December 2018, when the figure was 9,753.
• 4,094 single adults are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 5% since December 2018, when the figure was 3,915.
• 6,309 adults in total are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 2% since December 2018, when the figure was 6,194.
• 1,548 families are living in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 4% from December 2018, when the figure was 1,617 families.
Wayne Stanley, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that despite the drop, the figures must be to the forefront of politicians and voters’ minds alike in this general election campaign.
“The reduction in the number of people in emergency accommodation is welcome, particularly when it is for the second month in a row. Given the scale of the fall, we hope that we will not see the usual seasonal reverse of these figures when the January numbers are released.
“However, it remains unacceptable that 9,731 men, women and children entered the New Year without a home of their own, and while these numbers do show progress, they do not capture the full scale of the homelessness and housing crisis. Rough sleepers, people in direct provision and women’s shelters, and the ‘hidden homeless’ who have no home of their own, are not included.
“If we are to turn the corner on the housing and homelessness crisis the next programme for Government must be ambitious. We need to ensure that the provision of affordable homes is at the heart of a comprehensive plan to create a housing system that serves us all. We need a timeframe for ending long-term homelessness. We know from the good work that is happening on the ground here in Ireland and the successes we have seen in other European countries that there are solutions. What is required is the commitment and vision to implement them.”
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About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 16,700 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.