There were 11,632 people in homeless accommodation across Ireland at the end of December, marking a new record for the State.
It is the sixth consecutive month in which homelessness figures climbed to a record high.
The Homeless Report for December 2022, issued by the Department of Housing on Friday, showed that there 8,190 adults – 6,186 men and 3,004 women – and 3,442 children accessing local authority managed emergency accommodation last month.
There were 1,594 homeless families across the country. 1,387 of those accessing emergency accommodation were aged between 18 and 24.
With 5,793 people without beds, Dublin accounted for the majority of those homeless in the week leading to Christmas Day. The majority – 3,099 – were between the ages of 25 and 44.
Some 503 adults required homeless accommodation in Cork, as did 61 adults in Kerry.
Combined, Cork and Kerry accounted for 7% of the total number of homeless people in the country.
Overall, the figures show a 30% increase on the number of people who were homeless last December.
Focus Ireland calls for ‘urgent and effective action’
Focus Ireland has called the figures “shameful” and said that they should impel the Government “to take far more urgent and effective action before the crisis deepens even further.”
“When we see 30% rise in the last year completely wipe out the massive progress we made during the pandemic in 2021, when figures dropped to below 8,000 people, it is easy to just become despondent, but we need to use this set-back to give us the impetus to take the steps that can change things,” said Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan.
Mr Dennigan said the country was now half-way through the “breathing space” created by the Government’s winter eviction ban.
He called on the Government to publish a progress report on how theextra time generated by the ban has been used, and what extra measures it plans to put in place as regards homelessness from now until April.
“The eviction ban is having a short-term positive impact by preventing families from losing their homes, but it does nothing to tackle the long-term shortage of homes which is driving homelessness,” he said.
“The projections for next year and the continued failure to reach the social housing targets, the number of landlords wanting to sell-up and the new indications that the targets need to be increased all indicate that current plans are insufficient.”
He said it was crucial to avoid a situation where homelessness figures “skyrocket even further” once the eviction ban is lifted in April.
Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said the latest stats from Department of Housing were “profoundly upsetting”.
“We usually see a trend in December where the number of people depending on emergency homeless accommodation falls as family and friends offer respite over the Christmas period.
“While this support was evident again last month, and we did see a fall in the number of families and children in homelessness, overall we saw an increase in December for the first time in six years.”
Mr Stanley said 2023 needed to be “a year of delivery for those at the sharpest end of the ongoing housing crisis.”
“In the coming weeks, we need the Government to look again at the options available to prevent homelessness and to support people to move on from homelessness,” he said.
“To that end, the Government must plan for the extension of the moratorium on evictions while continuing to work on delivering homes to ensure that the extension is not needed.”
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