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Almost 7,000 homeless

  • 10/08/2017
  • Author:bridgetmccall

Central Statistics Office report shows 81% rise since 2011

Woman sitting on a bench

Nearly 7,000 people in Ireland are homeless, according a new report on homelessness, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The data comes from Census 2016.

The report found:

  • 607 homeless persons are unable to work because of a disability, representing 12 per cent of all homeless and almost three times as many as the 4.2 per cent of the general population

  • 429 students were homeless on the night the census was taken - April 24th 2016

  • 1,846 children (27 per cent) of the homeless are children

  • 2,888 (42%) are women and 4,018 (58%) are men

  • 896 families were homeless

  • 17% are working

  • 4% are over 65 years of age

  • 14% are non-Irish.

Location and age

The majority of people (73%) who are homeless are in the Dublin region

The average age of a homeless person is 31, six years younger than the national average age of the population - 37.

Homeless families in hotels and B&Bs are included in the census for the first time.

Simon Communities Ireland response

Simon Communities Ireland, a leading housing and homelessness charity, welcomed the publication of ‘Census of Population 2016 - Profile Homeless Persons in Ireland’ by the CSO. Regular data was vital to ensure that the needs of people who are homeless can be responded to appropriately. They said the figures showing an increase of 81% in people who are homeless since 2011 were unsurprising but deeply concerning.  

Niamh Randall, Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said that the figures are only a snapshot of some people in homeless services and accommodation on census night and tell just part of the story.

“What these figures really show us is that people who are homeless, like the rest of the population, do not have a singular experience of homelessness. They represent a wide range of experiences and a broad spectrum of people; single people, families, women, young people and drug/alcohol users who are homeless. For this reason, the Simon Communities are calling for a new cross departmental National Homelessness Sub-Strategy, under Rebuilding Ireland, with ring fenced funding for implementation. This sub-strategy would build upon existing commitments contained in Rebuilding Ireland including prevention, nationwide implementation of Housing First and addressing multiple and complex needs.

“It is hugely concerning to see the increase in young people who are becoming homeless; 27% of those counted as homeless on census night. We know that people who have experience of homelessness in their youth are more likely to become homeless again as adults. Nobody should have to experience homelessness but it is particularly poignant to experience it as a child or young person. These figures show that people who are homeless are less likely to have higher education qualifications; we must ensure people have the supports necessary to access the education and training that they need to live independently.

“It is worth noting that over 55% of people who are homeless are in the labour force. This suggests that there are thousands of workers who cannot afford to buy or rent a home of their own. The long term solution to ending the crisis is to build more social housing, more affordable housing. In the meantime, we must ensure that the private rental market is accessible to people. Addressing the spiralling rents and dwindling supply in private rented sector must be a priority. These persistent issues are preventing people from finding and sustaining affordable homes within the rental market. Keeping people in the homes that they already have is key to stopping the flow of people into homelessness.

“42% of people who are homeless are women, this is an increase of 9% since 2011. Family homelessness has increased by over 200%. 95% of one parent families are headed by women; the number of one parent families experiencing homelessness has increased by 206% since 2011. 12% of people are recorded as divorced, significantly higher than the general population at 5%, we know that family breakdown is one of the leading causes of homelessness so we must look at how we can prevent homelessness in the case of a marital breakdown.”


Do you need help?

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your background, circumstances and needs.

The following organisations may be able to give you further advice:

Money Advice and Budgeting Service which can advise on debt, including housing, and has information sheets on its website.

Homelessness charities Simon Communities of Ireland and Focus Ireland

You may also find it helpful to look at the Citizens Ireland information on housing

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