February 27th: The Simon Communities of Ireland have said the fact that an additional 540 people accessed emergency accommodation in January is disappointing, and shows that the next Programme for Government must include innovative and decisive measures to resolve the ongoing homelessness and housing crisis. While noting that the January increase was not unexpected, the charity highlighted that homelessness in Ireland has grown by 267% in the last five years (January 2015 to January 2020) and this is a clear call to action.
According to new figures from the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, 10,271 people were in emergency accommodation from January 20th to 26th. This is an increase of 540 people since December. The latest figures show:
• 10,271 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 2.8% since January 2019, when the figure was 9,987.
• 4,400 single adults are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 7.2% since January 2019, when the figure was 4,104.
• 6,697 adults in total are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 5.2% since January 2019, when the figure was 6,363.
• 1,611 families are living in emergency accommodation, a decrease of three families from January 2019, when the figure was 1,614 families.
Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said the homelessness and housing crisis requires urgent attention.
“While a January increase in emergency accommodation numbers is not unexpected following seasonal declines over Christmas, it shows that there is still a mammoth amount of work to be done to turn the corner and move toward everyone’s shared goal of ending homelessness. Over the past 12 months, there has been some slowing of the increase in the number of people in emergency accommodation. However, the broader picture shows a 267% increase in homelessness since January 2015, and 3,574 children are in homelessness today.
“The election showed that the public is very clear that they want the homeless crisis dealt with. Meeting the electorate’s expectation requires an ambitious Programme for Government that will build a secure and affordable housing system that works for all. This will allow the work of the Simon Communities and others, in collaboration with local authorities, to turn the corner on this homelessness crisis. Beyond that, it will also provide the housing infrastructure we need to see an end to long-term homelessness, including for the 4,400 homeless single adults who are very poorly served by market-based solutions that are not providing the number of one and two-bed homes required.
“In the meantime, the Simon Communities continue to work with local authorities, government departments and other NGOs to try and alleviate the worst effects of this crisis. The three months of decline of families in emergency accommodation in the Dublin Region at the end of 2019 was an encouraging sign that these combined efforts can have an impact. However, to help these efforts and allow people to move on from homelessness permanently, the lack of affordable and social housing supply nationally must be addressed as a matter of urgency.”
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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.