Homeless Quarterly Report for Quarter 3 & Monthly Homeless Report for September 2020
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien T.D., has today (30 October, 2020) published the Monthly Homeless Report for September 2020 and the Homeless Quarterly Progress Report for the third quarter of 2020, which combines information for July, August and September.
The quarterly progress report is prepared by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, based on quarterly performance reports submitted by the nine regional lead authorities responsible for the administration of homeless services at local level.
The quarterly report shows that 1,350 adults and their dependants exited homelessness into tenancies in the third quarter of 2020, with 1,485 having exited in quarter two. In the year to date, a total of 4,401 exits from homelessness have been achieved. This is a slight increase (0.3%) on the number of exits recorded at the same point in 2019.
These quarterly exit figures can be viewed in the broader context of overall homeless numbers. The numbers accessing homeless accommodation have reduced considerably in recent times, albeit they are still far too high. At the end of quarter three 2020 there were 8,656 individuals accessing emergency accommodation, a reduction of 43 individuals on the previous quarter, and a decrease of 1,741 individuals (16.7%) on the 10,397 total recorded at end of quarter three 2019.
The quarterly report also records the number of families who are prevented from entering emergency accommodation by way of a tenancy being created, and the number of families exiting from emergency accommodation in the Dublin Region. The report shows that 55% of families presenting to homeless services in the year to date in 2020 were prevented from having to enter emergency accommodation through a tenancy having been created.
To date in 2020, 926 families exited emergency accommodation in Dublin into a tenancy. This represents a 16% increase on the corresponding period in 2019, despite there being fewer families in emergency accommodation in 2020 than was the case in 2019.
The quarterly report provides data on the length of time spent in emergency accommodation. The report indicates that while the number of people in emergency accommodation has continued to reduce overall, the numbers accessing emergency accommodation for longer period of time now appear to be proportionately more represented in these diminishing numbers. The Minister has committed to addressing this issue with continued action and investment.
The monthly report for September 2020, which is also published today, indicates that the total number of homeless individuals, including dependants fell from 8,702 to 8,656, a decrease of 46 (0.5%) on the total for August 2020.
Of the homeless adults recorded in September, 4,452 (73%) are single adults (adults who are not part of a family unit). This is a decrease of 11 (0.2%) on the 4,463 single adults recorded last month.
There were 1,128 families in emergency accommodation, an increase of 8 (0.7%) on the 1,120 recorded in August 2020. The year on year position is that September 2020 shows a decrease of 628 families (35.8%) on the 1,756 total recorded in September 2019.
A total of 2,583 dependants, associated with these families, were in emergency accommodation, a decrease of 37 on the 2,620 recorded in August 2020. This is the lowest number of dependants recorded since February 2017 (2,546). The year on year position is that September 2020 shows a decrease of 1,290 (33.3%) dependants on the 3,873 total recorded in September 2019.
Commenting on the details contained in the reports published today, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD said, “I want to acknowledge the tragic deaths in recent days and months of individuals who have been accessing homeless services. I offer my sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives. It is vital we continue to deliver the appropriate measures to ensure that all individuals experiencing homelessness are supported to exit homelessness into permanent housing solutions and that those with complex health and mental health needs are supported.
“While homelessness remains unacceptably high, there are indications in these latest reports of progress being made, despite the added challenges faced as we deal with COVID-19. I want to acknowledge the commitment of all involved in providing services to those who are homeless, in particular the local authorities and service providers who are working together to develop and implement responses in the short and medium term as we deal with this complex issue. We must all continue to work together. The Programme for Government commits to reducing and preventing homelessness and since becoming Minister I have set about securing significant additional resources in this regard,” he said.
Budget 2021 makes provision for €218m in funding for homeless services next year. The original budget allocation for 2020 was €166m. A further €30m was secured in July of this year, bringing the total allocation to date in 2020 to €196m.
“The increased funding will allow for a greater focus on preventing homelessness in the first instance while also ensuring that pathways out of homelessness for those individuals and families in emergency accommodation are secured as quickly as possible. This reflects the priority that I as Minister and this Government is giving to homelessness.
“For those experiencing homelessness the additional funding will support the operation of increased numbers of family hubs and other supported facilities for single individuals, while efforts are made to support households to find homes. It will also support the provision of additional outreach services for rough sleepers and the expansion of Housing First targets, which is a commitment in the Programme for Government. Housing First provides homes for rough sleepers and long-term users of homeless accommodation and provides them with the wrap around housing and health supports that they require to sustain a tenancy. Critically, the additional funding will ensure the protection of households experiencing homelessness during COVID-19,” the Minister said.
The Minister went on to speak about the need to increase the supply of social and affordable homes, saying, “One of the key measures we are taking to address homelessness is to increase the supply of housing. To this end, the Programme for Government commits to the increased supply of public, social and affordable homes. In particular, we are increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 with an emphasis on new builds.”
In the short-term, as part of the July Stimulus Programme, the Minister announced over €40 million for the refurbishment of voids, the largest single amount announced under the programme. This funding will bring properties back into use during 2020 and will allow these homes to be allocated by local authorities. This will include allocations to households in emergency accommodation. To date 2,449 units have been approved for funding with 285 units specifically for allocation to homeless households.
“I am encouraged by the uptake by local authorities in relation to the voids programme. They are seizing the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of thousands of households this year,” the Minister concluded.