Housing Crisis | 

Charities slam government for failing to ‘respond to catastrophe’ as homeless figures hit record high

‘It is unforgivable’

A woman walks past the tent of a homeless person on Grafton Street in Dublin city centre© PA

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A number of charities have slammed the Government’s response to the housing crisis as “unforgiveable.”

The “devastating” new numbers show 10,805 people are now homeless in Ireland, with child homelessness up 47% since August 2021.

"It is unforgivable that this week's budget failed to offer a single measure to help prevent these households from losing their homes,” Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said.

“The stark reality remains that homeless services and local authorities nationwide fear that they may not be able to provide emergency accommodation for all the hundreds of households that will become homeless this winter.”

Mr Dennigan warned that the Government cannot come “to treat homelessness as inevitable” as figures keep rising.

The crisis is “the result of bad political choices and can be solved by the right policies,” he said.

“Many families will have a grim dilemma this winter between paying their rent, energy bills or putting food on the table.”

The CEO said homeless services “will struggle to cope” with the demand of people needing support if urgent action is not taken by the Government.

There is a “devastating” lack of hope that the situation will improve, Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Comunication at Simon Communities said.

The housing charity called for the Government to undertake a number of measures that could help reverse “the deeply concerning” trajectory of the housing crisis as winter arrives.

Simon have told the Government to look at using 5,000 vacant properties to help people out of homelessness and the social housing list.

It is believed that the numbers of people experiencing homelessness in Ireland are much higher, as official numbers don’t count those in ‘hidden’ homelessness.

Couch surfers, those ‘doubling up’ with friends or family, in hotels are among people who aren’t counted as ‘officially’ homeless.

Almost 300,000 people are living in conditions like this, according to Simon Communities.

1 in 4 people know someone who has experienced hidden homelessness in the past 12 months, the charity said.

A number of Irish people have come forward in recent weeks to reveal the depth of their struggles to find accommodation in Ireland.

Some students have been living in cars, in tents or commuting long distances to make it to college.

A Galway student living out of her car told the Irish Independent this week of her struggle.

"I knew it was going to be rough because it was really rough last year but I didn’t think it was going to be this bad.”

The figures released by the Department of Housing today show a record number of young people experiencing homelessness. 1,274 people aged 18-24 are homeless.

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