Homelessness hits record high of 12,600 people

Housing minister Darragh O’Brien described situation as “very challenging”

Darragh O’Brien: “Resources and funding for tackling homelessness are not an obstacle to the urgent work required to combat homelessness.” Picture: Maura Hickey

The number of homeless people in Ireland has reached a record high of 12,600.

The number of people in emergency accommodation last month rose by 1.3 per cent compared to the previous month. This includes 8,835 adults and 3,765 children.

A report for the second quarter of the year found the two most common reasons for homelessness were eviction (28.8 per cent) and relationship breakdown or family circumstances (28.2 per cent).

The second quarter of the year saw an 8 per cent increase in number of adults and their dependants who exited, or were prevented from entering, emergency accommodation, compared to the first quarter.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the situation is “very challenging”, but he added “every effort” is being made to reduce homelessness.

“Tackling this issue is a government priority,” he said. “We know that increasing the supply of new homes, particularly social and affordable homes, is key to tackling homelessness.”

He cited Central Statistics Office figures that show 14,017 homes were completed in the first six months of 2023, a 5.8 per cent increase on the same period in 2022, and 15,561 new homes had begun being constructed in the first six months of 2023.

“Last year we delivered a record number of social homes, the highest number since 1975. All of this will help provide more housing solutions, including for those who are at risk of homelessness,” O’Brien said.

“Resources and funding for tackling homelessness are not an obstacle to the urgent work required to combat homelessness. Budget 2023 provided funding of over €215 million, an increase of 10 per cent on last year, for the delivery of homeless services.

“This is ensuring that local authorities can not only provide emergency accommodation but also and crucially homeless prevention measures. It will also ensure they can support households to successfully exit homelessness into secure tenancies.

“In addition to our focus on increasing supply, I introduced a number of measures to help those at risk of homelessness following the phasing out of the winter eviction moratorium. These include introducing 1,000 additional targeted leasing units, securing at least 1,500 tenant in situ purchases in 2023 and expanding emergency accommodation by adding 2,000 new beds.”