The government needs to recognise that whatever can be put forward as the successes of Rebuilding Ireland, it is failing on homelessness, says charity
10,397 men, women and children were in emergency accommodation during the week of September 23rd to 29th, according to the latest figures by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. This represents an increase of 59 people in emergency accommodation since August, and is the third consecutive month in which the numbers have risen. The new figures show:
- 10,397 men, women and children are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 7.2% since September 2018, when the figure was 9,698.
- 6,524 single people are now in emergency accommodation, an overall increase of 11.1% since September 2018, when the figure was 5,869.
• 1,756 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of three from September 2018, when the figure was 1,753 families.
Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that the Government must address the lack of social and affordable housing nationwide if homelessness is to be prevented.
“The figures released today show at least 10,397 people in Ireland, including 3,873 children, are now trying to live in extremely stressful and trying circumstances, without a place to call home. And it’s important to remember that while indicative of the crisis, these numbers do not truly capture its full scale. They do not include; rough sleepers and those in squats, people in direct provision and women’s shelters, and the ‘hidden homeless’ who have no home of their own.
“What they do show is that homelessness continues to grow. The Simon Communities across Ireland are seeing the crisis intensify every year, and services are becoming more and more stretched. Since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland in June 2016, homelessness in Dublin has risen by 52%, in the West of Ireland it has risen by 88%, and by 56% through the heart of the country over the same time period. This intensification has been most acute in those areas where there are severe shortages of affordable homes, such as Cork, Galway and Kildare.
“The Simon Communities’ latest Locked Out report shows there is a critical lack of affordable accommodation available to rent around the country, particularly one and two bedroom units. The private market is not building small one or two bed apartments at anything like the scale required, and it is clear that there is a need for a concentrated effort to improve supply of these units nationally. This problem seriously affects the ability of people to exit homelessness, as they have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent in the private rental sector.
“As the public are seeing homelessness almost daily now in our local and national media, it is crucial that we remind ourselves that this is not normal. Homelessness is not normal and as a society we long ago set out that it should not be acceptable. The current programme cannot be allowed to drift on as if it was succeeding. There is a need for a new direction, with increased effort to prevent homelessness and provide homes for individuals and families. To move forward, the Government has to accept the failings of Rebuilding Ireland to provide affordable and secure housing across the country, particularly one and two bed units, and act to improve levels of availability of suitable and secure accommodation for those currently experiencing homelessness.”
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Table 1: Increases in Number of People in Homelessness, June 2016 – September 2019
|Area||June 2016||September 2019||% Change|
|Mid West (Limerick and Clare)||228||466||70.6%|
|West (Galway, Roscommon and Mayo)||403||561||39.2%|
|South West (Kerry and Cork)||329||880||167.5%|
|North West (Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo)||50||72||44%|
|Mid East (Kildare, Meath, Wicklow)||271||507||87%|
|Midlands (Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath)||91||155||70.3%|
|North East (Louth, Monaghan, Cavan)||88||218||147.7%|
|South East (Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford)||304||296||-2.6%|
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.
 Combined adult and child homeless figures for Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Galway rose from 1,010 in June 2016 to 1,902 in September 2019. See Table 1 for regional breakdown.
 Combined adult and child homeless figures for Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Kildare, Meath Wicklow, Laois, Offaly, Longford, Westmeath, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford rose from 754 in June 2016 to 1,176 in September 2019. See Table 1 for regional breakdown.