- 27 Jan 23
New data shows 3,442 children were using emergency accommodations the week before Christmas.
Ireland’s homelessness crisis has hit an unprecedented high as 11,632 people had to use emergency accommodations last month, according to the Department of Housing’s December 2022 report released today.
2022 is the first year the number of homeless individuals has increased every month of a calendar year since data started being released publicly in 2014.
The report shows a 30% spike in the number of homeless people since 2021, as 8,917 people were using emergency accommodations in December 2021 compared to last month’s total of 11,632. There was a jump of 90 more people using these accommodations between November and December 2022 alone.
“When we see 30% rise in the last year completely wipe out the massive progress we made during the pandemic in 2021, when figures dropped to below 8,000 people, it is easy to just become despondent, but we need to use this set-back to give us the impetus to take the steps that can change things,” Pat Dennigan, CEO of homeless charity Focus Ireland, said in a statement.
Figures published by the Department of Housing today show the number of people officially homeless has hit another record high of 11,632. This is the first time homeless numbers have risen every month in a calendar year since the numbers were first released in 2014. pic.twitter.com/MFCip8DvI1
— FocusIreland (@FocusIreland) January 27, 2023
In response to the homelessness crisis, an eviction ban was put into place on October 30, 2022 but is set to expire on March 31, 2023. Focus Ireland welcomed the eviction ban but is now calling on the government to publish a progress report showing what actions have been taken since the ban went into effect and what plans will be put in place once it is lifted. Dennigan says action to address homelessness has been “insufficient” and that he only views the ban on evictions as a means of creating “breathing space” for more long-lasting solutions to be implemented.
“We are now half-way through the breathing space that the winter eviction ban creates, and we are calling on the Government to publish a progress report on how it has used this time and what it plans to put in place before the end of the current ban,” Dennigan says.
According to the December 2022 report, 1,594 families with 3,442 children were homeless last month, with over half of them being single parent families. Of the 8,190 homeless adults reported last month, 63% of them were male and 37% were female.
“It is crucial to remind ourselves that homelessness is solvable. It is not normal or acceptable and is due to nearly 10 years of poor policies and can be stopped over time by improved measures that are implemented quickly,” Dennigan continued. “These are human beings not just figures and too many children, families and single people are suffering trauma caused by homelessness. Ultimately lives are being stolen and we simply cannot accept this as a society.”