The homelessness rate in Ireland has risen by more than 30 percent in the past year, statistics show.
According to the latest figures from the Department of Housing, there were 10,492 adults and children in homeless emergency housing at the end of June.
2,478 more people were recorded as homeless in June compared to the same period last year, when 8,014 people were homeless.
This shows an increase of about 31 percent.
The total figure is shy of 10,492 compared to the highest homeless figure (10,514) recorded by the department in October 2019.
Overall, 7,421 homeless adults and 3,071 homeless children were recorded in the country last month.
In comparison, in June last year, 5,847 adults and 2,167 children were experiencing homelessness.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said: “The continued increase in the number of people accessing emergency housing is a serious concern.
“The government, local authorities and people in our NGO area are doing everything possible to reduce homelessness. The key is to promote the delivery and overall supply of new social housing.”
Social Democrats TD Sean O’Callaghan called the figures a “shocking indictment of the government’s failed housing policy”.
The party’s housing spokesperson said: “Homelessness is at an all-time high. It’s a disaster for everyone living in emergency housing that doesn’t have a place to call home.
“Homelessness has increased by over 31 per cent in the past year – while child homelessness has increased by 41 per cent during the same period. These figures are a startling indication of the government’s failed housing policy.
“These figures do not include people sleeping on our streets, in tents and on couches.”
Simon Communities, a homeless organization, called on the government to take action to move the homeless “beyond the crisis”.
The charity has urged the government to put 5,000 vacant properties to use through a repair and lease scheme for the homeless and people on the social housing waiting list.
It wants to raise money for homelessness prevention and improve HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) rates.
Wayne Stanley, head of policy and communications at Simon Communities, said: “We are calling on the government to take the necessary steps to move forward from the crisis.
“Our first priority is to see that the government understands the opportunity that our high vacancy rate offers us, to provide relief to some of those men, women and children who are struggling homeless or thousands more in hiding. are homeless.
“These actions will build more capacity in local authorities and create some breathing space in the social housing system, while the government’s strategy committed to Housing for All brings direct homes online.”
Dublin Simon Community spokesman Caoimhe O’Connell said: “It is disheartening to see that the number of people living in emergency housing in Dublin continues to climb upward for another month.”
He said that currently it is taking an average of five months to process housing applications.
“That’s a five-month wait to get on the waiting list, which, depending on your situation, can take several years to get home,” she said.
“The recommended length of stay in emergency housing is six months.”
Homelessness charity Focus Ireland said the homelessness figures are headed for a “historic high” should they ignite immediate government action as the nation faces a social emergency.
The organization said most emergency homeless housing is now filled, resulting in “hidden homelessness”, where people live in “precarious and unsuitable” housing and this is not reflected in figures published Friday.
Mike Allen, Focus Ireland’s Director of Advocacy, said: “As homelessness continues to increase month by month, it should be clear to all that it will not be enough to just keep doing what we are already doing.
“Local officials across the country are being driven into desperate efforts to open new homeless shelters when we know emergency housing is not the answer, housing is the answer.”