Saturday 23 September 2017

Number of homeless has reached all-time high

Eoghan Murphy TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Eoghan Murphy TD. Photo: Tom Burke
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Homelessness and children's charities have expressed despair after the number of homeless people jumped 25pc over the past year to hit an all-time high.

The figures for July, released by Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy yesterday, reveal that 8,160 people - including 1,429 families - have nowhere to live.

The number of children without a roof over their heads has sky-rocketed by almost 300pc in three years to a record high of 2,973. A further 78 children have become homeless since the last figures were released in June.

Children's charity Barnardos said the figures were "totally unacceptable and, tragically, preventable".

A spokesperson said: "The Government must take more decisive action. It must do more to stem the flow of families becoming homeless. Current policies are failing."

Focus Ireland's Mike Allen said the figures - which were released on the eve of Mr Murphy's homelessness summit today - prove that the Government's 'Rebuilding Ireland' strategy "is failing to get to grips with the escalating crisis".

He continued: "The time has now come for the Government to take the decisions it has shied away from for several years.

"This includes actively building social housing, taxing those who hoard building land and protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction."

A Simon Communities spokesperson said: "July was the month that we were supposed to see an end to homeless families living in emergency accommodation.

"It is disappointing to see the numbers continue to increase, month after month; 219 adults and children have become homeless in July alone."

Mr Murphy acknowledged the grim statistics, saying: "These figures are a reminder of the scale of the challenge we face. "We've been concentrating our efforts on homelessness in particular and tomorrow I will meet with all local authority chief executives with a view to agreeing additional measures following on from my review of 'Rebuilding Ireland'."

Irish Independent

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