Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has said that the Government must start to publish accurate figures of the number of people experiencing homelessness.
The call comes as Deputy Ó Broin published his annual ‘What is the True Level of Homelessness?’ report that shows the number of people living in emergency accommodation or sleeping rough has reached almost 20,000.
Teachta Ó Broin said:
“Each month, the Department of Housing publishes its homeless report. This details the number of adults and children in Department of Housing-funded emergency accommodation. The latest figures from September recorded 12,827 people, including 3,904 children, were in emergency accommodation.
“However, this report does not include all people in emergency accommodation funded by the state. According to Tusla, there are at least 599 women and children in domestic violence refuges.
“There are also 5,650 people, including 1,580 children, trapped in IPAS-funded accommodation with their leave to remain. They are unable to leave this accommodation due to the housing crisis and are using it as emergency accommodation.
“While there is no state-wide count of people forced to sleep rough, we know from the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive that the last Dublin count recorded 83 people sleeping on the streets.
“There are also 105 people on any given night sleeping in two hostels in Dublin not funded by the state.
“When all of these different groups of people are taken together the number in homeless accommodation or rough sleeping is 19,264 including at least 5,484 children.
“For many years, I have been calling on the Government to publish a comprehensive report including all those sleeping rough and in emergency accommodation. Currently Tusla cannot prove regular figures on the number of women and children in their refuges. The Department of Children only provides information regarding those trapped in directive provision with leave to remain on request via Parliamentary Question.
“Today I am publishing an updated version of a report I first published in 2018. This is not just a question of numbers. Government has committed to ending long-term homelessness and the need to sleep rough by 2030.
“To achieve that objective, the Government must have accurate information on the total number of people who are homeless. This should then inform Government plans to ensure that year on year this number is reducing not increasing.
“Since I first published this report in 2018, the number of people in Department of Housing-funded emergency accommodation has increased by 32%. The number of people trapped in Direct Provision with leave to remain has increased by a staggering 811%.
“I am once again urging Government to reconvene the Homeless Consultative Committee data sub group to agree on a better reporting methodology for reporting homelessness.
“I also remain of the view that an independent body such as the CSO or the Housing Agency should take over the collation and publication of regular homelessness reports. And that report should include all people in emergency accommodation and rough sleeping.
“How can Government honestly expect to end long term homelessness and the need to sleep rough if they don’t even know how many people are rough-sleeping or living in emergency accommodation?”
Deputy Ó Broin’s ‘What is the True Level of Homelessness?’ document can be read here.