Sunday 19 August 2018

1,400 families homeless as 2017 'worst year in history of state'

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
The figures are up almost 20pc on the same time last year, with more than 1,400 families still homeless

Ryan Nugent

The latest figures have revealed that the number of people suffering from homelessness was lower in December than the previous month.

However, the figures are up almost 20pc on the same time last year, with more than 1,400 families still homeless.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the figures for last month dropped in almost all categories in comparison to November. However, the numbers show that some 5,508 adults were homeless last month, a drop of just 16 on the previous month.

There were 254 fewer children homeless over the same period, with 3,079 children homeless last month. This is still a jump of 574 on December 2016 - a 23pc increase.

The figures are up almost 20pc on the same time last year, with more than 1,400 families still homeless
The figures are up almost 20pc on the same time last year, with more than 1,400 families still homeless

Homeless charities have insisted that a drop in numbers during December is commonplace.

Reacting to the figures, Mr Murphy said: "The overall decrease of 270 in the number of people experiencing homelessness is welcome.

"Significantly fewer children were in emergency arrangements during December compared to the previous month.

"Obviously we still have more work to do to help children and families into secure homes, but this is good progress for those families who were accommodated during the month of December."

Focus Ireland advocacy director Mike Allen said that last year the homeless crisis was the worst ever.

"Last year was the worst year for homelessness in the history of the State," Mr Allen said.

spike

"More men, women and children experienced homelessness than ever before in our history, and they experienced it for longer.

"There is always a seasonal drop in the number becoming homeless every December and then a spike in the numbers come January.

"This is due to a number of reasons, such as extended family taking people in for Christmas, but the situation is not sustainable and we regrettably expect to see a return to the rising pattern in January, as we do each year at this time."

The Peter McVerry Trust's chief executive Pat Doyle said he hopes the latest figures are part of a trend and not just a flash in the pan.

"We need to see that work from the likes of the Department for Housing, local authorities, DRHE and the voluntary sector ramped up in 2018," Mr Doyle said.

"A year-round level of urgency of that which we experienced in the final quarter of 2017 could make a major difference to the homeless crisis."

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