Call for urgent action to stem marked rise in Dublin homeless

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett 

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has called on the government to do more in the prevention of homelessness, following the publication of homeless figures by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE).

The figures for November 2021 reflect the ongoing monthly rise in the number of households experiencing homelessness. The figures show 4,019 households living in emergency accommodation across Dublin – including 1,930 children.
Deputy Ó Broin said: “For the past four months, we’ve seen the number of adults, children and families living in emergency accommodation steadily increase.  In November last, 6,498 adults and children were sleeping in emergency accommodation in Dublin, a rise of 621 in just four months. The numbers are reflective of the rise across the state.”

A spokesperson for the Simon Community stated: “Over the last few months, we have seen an increase in presentations to our prevention teams, particularly from older people.

“Whether there will be an increase in emergency services remains to be seen – there is usually an increase at Christmas time, which we saw in the November Homeless Report released last week.”

Deputy O’Bróin noted the DRHE report also outlined the length of time families remain living in emergency accommodation.

“It is hugely concerning that 408 adults and children are stuck in emergency accommodation for over a year; 747 adults and children were trapped in such accommodation for more than two years – this is not acceptable.

 “That means 421 children spent two Christmases and two birthdays sleeping in emergency accommodation. The Minister for Housing needs to provide a more detailed analysis as to why so many families remain in emergency accommodation after two years.

The Simon Community added “Usually, numbers presenting as homeless would decline after Christmas but we are concerned that this may not be the case this year, given the trajectory the homeless crisis has been on for the last six months.”

Deputy O’Bróin called on the government to focus on prevention. “More must be done,” he said “to prevent families entering this situation in the first place. The speedy passage of the Simon Communities Bill through the Oireachtas must be also be facilitated.”
He stressed the need to deliver more ‘real’ social housing by local authorities and approved housing bodies, not HAP tenancies and long-term leasing.
“The targets for Housing First must be more ambitious. Too many single adults are experiencing homelessness; the DRHE figures showed 184 single adults were using emergency accommodation for the first time in November.”

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