The Government’s latest Monthly Homelessness Report records that 107 homeless households including 13 families, comprising 16 adults and 29 children, and 94 single adults, were accommodated in emergency accommodation during the week of 19 – 25 June.
“A 39.6% reduction in the number of child dependants in emergency accommodation and an 18% decrease in homelessness overall in a single month is a very welcome development. Government should carefully examine the approaches used successfully by the Local Authorities in the North West region, and quickly replicate them in other parts of the country” says Noel Daly CEO of North West Simon Community.
The North West Simon Community, statement was issued after the publication of the Government’s latest homeless figures which show that emergency accommodation was provided to 139 individuals during June 2023. This number represents a decrease in overall homelessness of 18% month on month when compared with the 170 people homeless in May 2023 but is unfortunately still 42% higher than the number of 98 individuals in emergency accommodation in May 2022.
North West Simon Community points out that the Monthly Homeless Reports published by the Government relate only to individuals and families provided with emergency accommodation by the Local Authorities. They do not include households frequently described as the “hidden homeless”. People and families sleeping rough, living in cars and tents, sofa surfing, in refuges to escape domestic violence, sharing with parents, family, and friends, and/or living in houses unfit for habitation.
Noel Daly says “the Government’s Report indicates this significant reduction in homelessness was achieved by the Local Authorities proactively targeting 7 families comprising of 9 adults and 19 children, and assisting them to exit homelessness in the course of a single month. If such targeted measures can be replicated for the remaining families and then for single adults currently in emergency accommodation in the North West, it would free up resources for homeless agencies to concentrate on preventing further homelessness from occurring”.
North West Simon Community believes there are potential learnings here that could make a real difference in other areas of the country, and perhaps we could finally begin to see a reduction in national homelessness, which at present continues to increase at an unacceptable rate. There were 12,600 individuals accessing emergency accommodation at the end of Quarter 2 2023, an increase of 612 individuals (5%) on the position at the end of Quarter 1 2023 and an increase of 2,108 individuals (20%) on the total recorded at end Quarter 2 2022. There were 1,804 families accessing emergency accommodation at the end of Quarter 2 2023, an increase of 165 families (10%) on the position at the end of Quarter 1 2023 and an increase of 420 families (30%) on the total recorded at end Quarter 2 2022.
Responding to this national crisis, Wayne Stanley Executive Director of Simon Communities of Ireland today highlighted the need for more focussed responses to held end homelessness across Ireland.
“Once again, we’re seeing a disheartening surge in the number of people living in homelessness. It’s shocking that we continue to reach record numbers of men, women and children in emergency accommodation each month, at a time when budget surpluses are running into billions of euro. The number of families in homelessness is now at a level we haven’t seen since 2018. This highlights the stark realisation that the remaining shreds of the progress made on homelessness during the pandemic have been lost. We also know that these figures, while indicative of the crisis, do not truly capture its scale. They do not include rough sleepers, those in squats, people in direct provision with status, those in women’s shelters, and those in ‘hidden homelessness’.
Our latest Locked Out of the Market report highlights the shortage of options in the private rental system. We’ve seen in recent reports that there are some people willing to exploit the housing crisis and those most vulnerable within that system, in cruel and disgusting ways. So we need to take action to protect people where we can from the trauma of homelessness.
Making progress on homelessness and ensuring that those affected have a secure affordable home, requires action by all arms of the State. In the short term, it is critical that we see local authority housing allocated in more significant numbers to those in homelessness and HAP levels increased. In the medium term, we have to reduce our reliance on the private rental market overall and delivery of social and affordable homes will have to increase. We also need to see more investment in frontline prevention work. Even in the midst of this crisis, services and local authorities are supporting individuals and families and succeeding in preventing them from experiencing the trauma of homelessness.”