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Record 13,514 people homeless in November

There were 13,514 people counted as homeless in November in the latest figures from the Department of Housing.

The number of children accessing emergency accommodation that month was 4,105.

The previous month, the total number of homeless people was 13,179.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One ahead of the announcement, Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy at homeless charity Focus Ireland, said if the number of homeless children exceeds 4,000 it would be “totally shocking”.

“It is not just that there are more children homeless, they are homeless for much longer,” Mr Allen said.

In October, the total number of homeless people was 13,179, meaning an additional 335 people became homeless in November, in broad terms.

“So there has been an 80% increase in the number of families who were long-term homeless, that is an almost doubling of the number of families that are homeless for more than a year,” Mr Allen added.

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“This is not something that can be allowed to continue, we really need Government to use the resources which are available, the housing that is available to tackle the extent to which the burden of this homelessness is falling so heavily on a relatively small number of people.

“There is a huge number of human beings suffering this, but it is actually a fully solvable problem.”

Dublin has the highest number of homeless adults at 6,790, of whom almost two thirds (4,316) are single.

On top of the number of people in emergency accommodation, the rough sleeper count for winter 2023 showed 118 people sleeping on the streets in Dublin, an increase of 30% on the previous year.

Mr Allen said there was a “major problem” with constantly discussing the need for emergency accommodation. He said people who were homeless needed homes, not emergency accommodation.

“If we could really accelerate the extent to which families and individuals who are homeless are moved out of emergency accommodation, we would be achieving two goals; we would be reducing the harm that is done to them and tackling our homeless problem, and we would be freeing up the emergency accommodation for people who just need emergency accommodation,” he said.

‘Shocking level of homelessness’ – Simon

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said:  ”This shocking level of homelessness documented in the figures released today must be placed into context.

“Each of the men, women, and 4,105 children that these figures represent are experiencing a preventable trauma.

“That level of suffering demands action. We know that the primary solution to homelessness is a home. Up to very recently, Governments have been heavily reliant on the private rental market to address social housing need.

“There are a multitude of reports that outline the difficulty of finding a home in the private rental market including our own Locked out of the Market report.

“This is no longer a viable answer to homelessness at the scale that we see today.”

Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said “rising levels of homelessness is further evidence that the Government’s housing plan is failing”.

“Since the current Government was formed homelessness and child homelessness has increased by a shocking 55%,” he said.

Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik said the latest figures were “intolerable”.

She said: “The Government must turn the tide on this national scandal. It is simply not good enough to repeat the line that ‘we have turned a corner on housing’.”

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