Tuesday 19 March 2019

More people may be taken off stats on homeless

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Doug O'Connor
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has defended the removal of hundreds of people from the national homelessness figures - and said more people may be removed.

Around 600 people were not included in the March monthly update and Mr Murphy has said these people were included in error by local authorities and that they should never have been included as they have not accessed emergency accommodation.

Sinn Féin's spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin accused the minister of "reclassifying in a fundamental way the definition of emergency accommodation", and predicted the minister will be forced to climb down on the issue.

However, the minister said it is unfair to compare people who are accessing emergency accommodation with those who are in council properties or private tenancies.

"If we are to have the right supports and targets to achieve sustainable exits from emergency accommodation, we have to understand exactly who is there and why," he said.

There are "further miscategorisations in the system still to be worked out," he added.

The number of people removed from the list may be as high as 200, according to the minister.

"I am aware there may be as many as 200 more... we are trying to work through that at the moment," he said.

Mr Murphy also addressed a 'Sunday Independent' report that he is considering removing homeless non-EU nationals from the overall figures. He said: "Nobody is talking about re-categorising non-EU nationals but we must face up to the fact that if they do not have tenancy rights, they will be trapped permanently in emergency accommodation, so what is the proper way to support those people?"

Irish Independent

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