Homeless crisis | 

Minister Heather Humphreys says ‘no decision made’ on extending eviction ban

A record high number of homeless people in Ireland last week prompted calls for the eviction ban to be extended to the end of the year

Minister for Social Protection and Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys (Damien Storan/PA)© Damien Storan

Rebecca BlackPA Media

The Government has not made a decision yet on extending the eviction ban, Heather Humphreys has said.

A new record high number of homeless people in Ireland last week prompted calls for the eviction ban to be extended to the end of the year,

There were 11,754 homeless people in January, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.

That total includes 8,323 adults and 3,431 children.

It is up from the 11,632 people recorded in emergency accommodation in December.

This excludes rough sleepers and people turned away due to lack of capacity.

It marks another new peak of homelessness, and comes despite a temporary eviction ban being in place since November.

It is due to run out at the end of March.

Ms Humphreys said the Government has not yet decided whether to extend it.

The Minister for Social Protection said it had been meant to reduce homelessness, but “hasn’t worked”.

She told RTE’s The Week In Politics programme that it is concerning to see the numbers in emergency accommodation rising, but said there are more going out of emergency accommodation “than ever before”.

“Government hasn’t made a decision yet on the eviction ban, and (Housing) Minister (Darragh) O’Brien is consulting with the Attorney General and it is his plan to bring a proposal to cabinet in the next number of weeks,” she said.

“But I think the issue here, and it always has been the issue, is supply, and it’s encouraging to see that in 2022, we have almost 30,000 new houses on stream, and that’s a 45pc increase on the previous year.”

She added: “It’s about finding the balance to support the renters, but also the stop the landlords from leaving the market.

“So again, we have to go back to the core issues which is increasing the supply of houses.”

Sinn Féin TD Eoin O’Broin said the ban on evictions was introduced in October when the majority local authorities had no emergency accommodation left.

He said extending the ban is not a solution, but would give the government breathing space to increase the supply of much needed affordable and social homes.

“Government must use that time to take the emergency action needed to address this crisis,” he said.

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