Homelessness Figures Reach Record High in Month Before Eviction Ban Lifted
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Last month saw a record 11,988 people recorded as homeless according to figures released today by the Department of Housing.
The figures are a new record high for people in emergency accommodation and worryingly represent data from before the controversial lifting of the eviction ban.
In March, there were 5,823 single adults and 1,639 families accessing emergency accommodation, including 3,472 children. The total figures represent a 2.1% increase in the same data for February.
Homelessness groups are worried the statistics will continue to rise as we see the full effects of the ending of the no-fault eviction ban.
In a statement following today’s published figures, Dublin Simon CEO Catherine Kenny said: “Following on from the lifting of the eviction ban, we are seeing increased activity in our homelessness prevention services and experiencing a rise in enquiries from concerned tenants at risk of losing their homes and requiring our expertise and support.
Single people account for almost half of the clients we work with in homelessness prevention and are especially vulnerable due to a lack of affordable and suitable accommodation. Additionally, barriers to accessing the Housing Assistance Payment are being reported on the ground, and some individuals are returning to our emergency services due to the lack of appropriate options for moving on from homelessness.”
She added “We must herald in a new age for society that will involve a significant rise in affordable and social housing, providing relief to the thousands of people whose lives are passing them by as they wait for homes to become available.
Progress will be measured by a consistent decrease in homeless figures over time, and success can only be declared when the thousands of beds in emergency accommodations lie empty. The housing and homelessness crisis can be solved, but we remain quite some distance away.”
Commenting on the reports published today, Darragh O’Brien, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage said: “Unfortunately we have seen an increase in the numbers of people in emergency accommodation despite the Winter Eviction Moratorium still being in effect in March.
The situation is very challenging but the Government, local authorities and those in our NGO sectors are working together and making every effort to reduce homelessness. Tackling this issue is a Government priority.”
Featured Image Credit: PA