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Regret as homeless total passes 10,000 mark for first time


Homeless numbers could be even higher, said Peter McVerry. Photo: INM

Homeless numbers could be even higher, said Peter McVerry. Photo: INM

Homeless numbers could be even higher, said Peter McVerry. Photo: INM

The number of homeless people in Ireland has broken the 10,000 mark for the first time.

The Department of Housing said nearly 4,000 children are among the number living in emergency accommodation.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said the increase of 277 people for the February report was "hugely disappointing".

A total of 10,264 are now living in homelessness across the country - 1,707 families comprising 6,480 adults and 3,784 children.


January's figures had come close, reaching 9,987.

"The increase in homelessness in February is hugely disappointing," Mr Murphy said.

"Our plans to fix the supply of social and private housing are working and this is borne out by the build figures.

"The latest RTB report also shows rent falling at the end of 2018, and yet still we see more people entering emergency accommodation."

The minister said further protection for those renting from private landlords would go before the Cabinet "in the coming days".

However, homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry said the figures may be closer to 15,000 when 'sofa-surfers' and rough sleepers were included.

He said the number of children who have experienced homelessness was a matter where the Government needed to provide details.

"I find the figures very unsatisfactory," he said, adding that there could be as many as 6,000 to 7,000 children who have experienced homelessness in that period.

Depaul chief executive Kerry Anthony said the figure going above 10,000 was "hugely disheartening".

"It indicates that many chall- enges remain with regards to homelessness in Ireland," she said.

"We need to be continuously looking at the reasons behind these increases.

"However, it is not enough to identify the reasons. We must also act upon this knowledge.

"For any person or family to find themselves homeless can have a detrimental impact on their lives, no matter how brief their stay in homelessness is."

Labour's housing spokeswoman Jan O'Sullivan said Fine Gael's housing policy had failed and the crisis was an emergency requiring emergency action.

"The last two months have shown the Government is not on top of this and the problem is getting worse," she said.

"There appears to be no end in sight, and three years into this Government the volume of social housing needed has not been delivered."