December 14, 2020
At least 20% of those experiencing homelessness not counted by government – Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has today published a document which indicates that the true level of those experiencing homelessness is at least 20% greater than what official government figures show.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The document I am publishing today details the additional number of adults and children in emergency accommodation who are not included in the Department of Housing’s monthly homelessness reports.

“The most recent figures published for October 2020 show 6,095 adults and 2,642 children living in hubs, hostels, hotels and B&B’s.

“The figure of 8,737 includes adults and children in Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation. However, there are adults and children in emergency accommodation funded by other government agencies; including Tusla and the Department of Children.

“According to the latest figures available there are still 1,020 people, 709 adults and 311 children, living in Direct Provision centres despite having been granted some form of leave to remain. For these families, Direct Provision has become a form of emergency accommodation while they search for alternative accommodation.

“In terms of women and children living in domestic violence accommodation, we unfortunately do not have figures for 2019, but information from Tusla indicates that, on any given night, there are 599 beds available in the system and these are usually at capacity.

“The 100+ people staying in emergency and transitional accommodation providers, such as Morning Star and Regina Coeli that are not funded by the State, are also not counted.

“But this is not about figures. It is about the government’s ability to provide the services required to meet the true level of need.

“The recent series of Fine Gael led governments not only failed to tackle homelessness but their Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy sought to undermine the only official figures we do have by “recategorising” and removing people from the official figures for political purposes.

“Responsibility for the publication of the figures should be given to an independent body such as the CSO or the Housing Agency.

“The official monthly reports must clearly set out the number of rough sleepers, women and children in domestic violence accommodation, adults and children with leave to remain but using direct provision as emergency accommodation, and those in non-government funded hostels such as Morning Star.

“We also need to see a shift to placing a greater emphasis on homeless prevention. The Homeless Prevention Bill 2020 that will be debated during Sinn Féin private members’ time in the Dáil tomorrow places a legal obligation on local authorities and State agencies to put in place a homeless prevention plan before a family becomes homeless.

“Such an approach – if implemented and resourced adequately – would prevent further families from becoming homeless as it will empower local authorities to take a more hands-on role and to provide a plan and the appropriate supports to people who are at risk of homelessness sixty days before they have to leave their accommodation.”

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