Simon Communities respond as new Emergency Accommodation Figures are released

Numbers in need of social housing or secure rental accommodation remains too high 

The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that the numbers of people trapped in emergency accommodation have increased again and have hit yet another record high of 9,891, according to figures released for July 2018 by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The figures report:


1,778 families are living in emergency accommodation, an increase of 24% since July 2017 when the figure was 1,429 families. 


3,867 children are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 30% when compared with July 2017 when the figure was 2,973 children.

3,567 adults, people without dependants in their care are trapped in emergency accommodation, an increase of 10% from July 2017 when the figure was 3,234.


Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for the Simon Communitiessays it is deeply worrying to see so many people remaining trapped in emergency accommodation.

“The 9,891 people living in emergency accommodation are in a very stressful situation with no certainty about their future. Without an accessible private rental sector or social housing, people have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent. They are trapped and there is no way out for them. Where can they go? These figures don’t include rough sleepers or those in squats, women and children in refuges, those is direct provision or people who are ‘hidden homeless’; those staying with family or friends as they have nowhere else to go. The number of people counted in this report are the real adults and children facing the reality of this broken system, yet they represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of housing instability and insecurity.”


Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities 

“We know that many people entering emergency accommodation are doing so because they have been forced out of the private rental sector. Security of tenure and rent certainty are critical to prevent homelessness. Without an accessible private rental sector or social housing, people have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent and this isn’t fair. The pace of building much needed social and affordable homes is too slow to meet the demand and there is an overreliance on a broken rental sector.”

“The Simon Communities latest Locked Out of the Market XI snapshot study, published 16/08/2018, shows that only 8% of properties advertised are available within Rent Supplement (RS) /Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) levels. The snapshot study was undertaken over three consecutive days in May 2018 (1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The study also shows the far-reaching nature of this crisis. Only one or no properties were available within RS/HAP limits in eight out of eleven study areas. No properties were available across all four categories in three study areas (Galway City Centre, Limerick City Centre, Portlaoise) and just one property was available across all categories in five study areas  (Athlone, Dublin City Centre, North Kildare, Sligo Town, Waterford City Centre).  This is the lowest recorded point in our study series which has been declining since RS/HAP limits were increased in July 2016. The number of available properties within RS/HAP limits in regional towns has significantly decreased from 13 properties in February 2018 to 6 properties in this most recent study indicating just how much people are having to compromise with their commutes getting longer.”

“We need to start building social and affordable housing across all tenure types within sustainable communities nationwide. People must be prevented from losing homes that they already have. The Government must step up, stop using short-term solutions and take affirmative action to ensure that the numbers of people entering into and remaining in emergency accommodation stops now.”


The Simon Communities deliver support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.


For media queries and interview requests

Helen McCormack

Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141


Homelessness – the numbers

During one week in July 2018 (latest available figures), there were 9,891 people living in emergency accommodation, including 3,567 adults without dependents in their care and 1,778 families with 3,867 children. (Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government April 2018).

On the night of 27th March 2018, there were 110 people without a place to sleep in Dublin City. Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. (Dublin Region Homeless Executive 2018).

Locked Out of the Market X found that 93% of rental properties are beyond the reach for those in receipt of state housing support (Simon Communities, 2018).

About Simon Communities

The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years.  The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 11,000 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to

Services range from

  • Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
  • Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
  • Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
  • Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.  
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