A decrease of 125 individuals from April is welcomed, the first month-on-month decrease in 2019. However, the overall total remains far too high, says Simon
June 28th: The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that the decrease in the number of people in emergency accommodation is to be welcomed, the first time in 2019 that the numbers in emergency accommodation have decreased month-on-month.
There were 10,253 men, women and children in emergency accommodation during the week of May 20th, according to the latest figures by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. This represents a reduction of 125 individuals since April.
The Simon Communities said while any reduction is welcome, no matter how small, the latest figures have to be put in context. 10,253 people in homelessness is a 4% increase year-on-year.
It is distressing that despite the dedicated efforts of local authorities, NGOs, charities and state agencies, the number of people who are experiencing homelessness in Ireland is still so high. The new figures show:
- 10,253 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 4% since May 2018, when the figure was 9,846.
• 1,700 families are living in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 1% from May 2018, when the figure was 1,724 families.
• 3,749 children are now stuck in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 2% compared with May 2018, when the figure was 3,826 children.
Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, says that while the reduction in numbers in emergency accommodation is positive, the total number cannot be allowed to become normalised.
“We welcome the decrease in the number of people in emergency accommodation, and at the same time, no one will argue that we have turned a corner on the homelessness crisis. The reality is that these numbers remain far too high. We must remember that these numbers are a snapshot of those affected, as various people, such as those who are experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’, are not included in these figures.
“These numbers reflect the continuing escalation of the crisis of homelessness driven by our struggling housing system. We must not allow this situation to continue.
“With a dwindling supply of affordable rented accommodation and soaring rental costs, it’s clear our for-profit private rented sector is not delivering the affordable homes needed to respond to this crisis.
“The Simon Communities have long said it is vital 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, and we renew those calls in response to these latest figures. A more ambitious approach to innovations such as the ‘cost rental model’ advocated by National Economic and Social Council would not only make a huge difference to the lives of those in emergency accommodation and on social housing lists, it is also the fiscally prudent thing for Government to do.
“In the short-term, there must also be a focus on preventing people from losing their homes and local authorities should review their scheme of letting to ensure that the public resources are being utilised to maximum affect in the fight against homelessness. People and families cannot be allowed to remain in emergency accommodation long term. They need secure and affordable homes, with support where needed. Emergency accommodation is not appropriate for individuals and families to live in for anything other than an emergency, so there must be a collective focus on developing solutions to end this crisis once and for all.”
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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.