Thursday 29 September 2016

Record numbers living in emergency accommodation

Published 12/03/2016 | 02:30

Niamh Randall
Niamh Randall

The number of homeless families in emergency accommodation has hit an all-time high.

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The latest figures from the Department of the Environment reveal 5,715 people were living in emergency accommodation in B&Bs and hotels in January - an increase of almost 50pc on the same time last year.

Included in the shocking figures are 1,830 children without homes, the number of which increased by 111pc over the past year, while the number of families who were made homeless in the course of the year, 884, grew by 120pc.

There are also 2,694 single adults without children in emergency accommodation.

Niamh Randal, spokeswoman for homeless charity the Simon Community, said: "This is the worst I've seen it. It's just getting worse and worse. Our position is no one should be in emergency accommodation for more than a few days."

The crisis highlights the need for a dedicated housing minister to put the issue at the forefront of the political agenda, Ms Randall (left) added.

"We know the damage and trauma that people experience when they are trapped in emergency accommodation. People are entitled to so much better, they cannot wait for weeks of negotiations for a new government to be formed."

"We need the strong and determined leadership of a minister for housing, with a seat and vote at cabinet, given the extent of the growing crisis. We are asking those elected to hear what we are saying: solving this crisis must be the top priority for the new government."

Erica Fleming, a 30-year-old mother who was in a recent RTÉ documentary on homeless families living in hotels, said despite the spotlight on the problem, nothing has changed.

"We're still living in a hotel," she said. "I feel completely hopeless."

Irish Independent

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