Minister Murphy’s statement on January homeless figures
Mr Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, today (27 February 2018) published his Department’s January Homelessness Report. The report, based on data provided by housing authorities, captures details of individuals utilising State-funded emergency accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities. The figures show an increase in the number of adults and families in emergency accommodation nationally, however the number of families remains lower than the previous high of November 2017. In the context of Rebuilding Ireland, the rate of increase in family homelessness has stabilised to a large extent over the past year. 2017 saw an increase of 16% in family homelessness compared to an increase of 55% in 2016, and 90% in 2015. In Dublin, where the majority of the homeless challenge is, the rates of increase were 9% in 2017, 51% in 2016, and 106% in 2015.
|National Figures||January 2018|
|Homeless Families||1,517 *|
* adults associated with these families are included in the 5,837 figure
Commenting on the figures Minister Murphy said “The increase in homelessness in January was anticipated to a degree. One reason for this was the 200 new permanent beds added to the system in the last quarter of last year, and which had been flagged as having an impact previously, as well as the emergency beds added as part of the cold weather initiatives undertaken over the winter period, which were fully in use during the month of January. These new beds brought rough sleepers into our services and care supports and added to the increase in individuals in emergency accommodation in January. While no increase in the number of people who are experiencing homelessness is welcome, there is no doubt that rough sleepers are better off in emergency services receiving the necessary supports and assistance. We also now have in place our National Director of Housing First, which should help in terms of making positive progress for adults who are experiencing homelessness.”
With regard to the increased number of families that were homeless in January, Minister Murphy said; “The number of families has also increased. The numbers are not back to the high of November and the rate of increase of family homelessness has stabilised to a large extent over the past year. However the extent of the increase in January was not anticipated and, following a meeting with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive, I have requested that they investigate the matter further and prepare a detailed report for review. Given the continuing number of families presenting to homeless services, as well as the continuing use of hotels, early in January I commenced a Rapid Hub Programme that will see additional family hub places added to the existing hubs and new places already in progress for the first half of this year. Family Hubs are a far better first response than hotels for families presenting as homeless.”
The Minister also stressed the importance of prevention stating “Prevention, of course, is key and we will continue to roll-out the new Homeless Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which is now supporting over 2,000 families since its introduction in 2017, while continuing to pursue other initiatives.”
Finally, the Minister stated “I would like to thank our local authorities, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive and our partners in the NGO sector who continue to do a huge amount of work to help people who are experiencing this crisis in their lives through no fault of their own. Great care and support is given every day and every day people are exiting homelessness into secure homes thanks to the combined efforts of all the agencies involved. Over the course of 2017 it is estimated that some 4,000 people exited homelessness.
This week, in particular, the local authorities have put in place arrangements to ensure that shelter is available for all of those who require it during the expected extreme period of cold weather. My Department will ensure that local authorities have all available resources to undertake this work”.