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Homeless figures rise in July amid warnings about end of eviction ban and rent freeze

Credit: The Journal

THE NUMBER OF people in Ireland in emergency accommodation rose again last month, according to latest figures from the Department of Housing.

New homeless statistics show that 8,728 individuals were in emergency accommodation in July – a rise of 29 on the figures from June.

It reverses a trend in recent months, beginning with March, which saw the number of homeless people fall below 10,000.

Last month, there were 6,077 adults and 2,651 children in emergency accommodation. Within these figures were 1,142 families.

Charities warned in July that consecutive falls in the monthly figures would be reversed when the government ended the moratorium on evictions and rent freezes.

The ban expired on 1 August, and there have been reports of controversial evictions occurring in Dublin this month.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin Ó Broin claimed that the figures showed the Government’s decision to lift the ban on evictions and rent increases was “premature”.

“The figures were on a downward trend with the Covid-19 restrictions in place and while I hope this rise will not continue for next month’s figures, I think it will be inevitable due to the row back of protections for renters,” he said.

Also commenting on the figures, Dublin Simon Community urged the Government not to forget about people whose tenancies were in crisis before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The slight rise in the July emergency accommodation numbers is a cause for concern,” CEO Sam McGuinness said.

“We are at a critical moment here. We must catch these people before they fall down the well of homelessness, because it is immensely difficult to climb back out.

“A winter like never before is coming and these people simply cannot be left out in the cold.”

Focus Ireland called on the Government to re-introduce eviction bans and rent freezes until the 19 virus is controlled.

“The last six  months have proved that one of the best defences against Covid-19 is a stable home,” CEO Pat Dennigan said.

“Measures such as the moratorium on evictions and rent freezes have clearly worked as the number of children and adults who are homeless has reduced significantly in the last five months.

“Since the lapse of the initial ban on evictions and rent reviews, our services are now meeting tenants who are facing notices of terminations and evictions which is deeply concerning.”

CEO of Inner City Helping Homeless Anthony Flynn said this afternoon that the figures are underestimating the extent of the problem and that the situation will worsen.

“We are to see a tsunami coming at us hard and quick and we will not be prepared . Numbers in relation to rough sleepers are not factored in and we have seen a 50% increase in this number,” he said.

“With 164 people sleeping rough on one night last week. Figures also don’t include domestic violence shelters, direct provision centres or couch surfers and are completely disingenuous overall.” 

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