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More families and children homeless in July

By Ann Marie Foley - 10 September, 2019

There has been a failure to stem the flow of families and individuals into homelessness every month, says Focus Ireland CEO, Pat Dennigan.

The latest government statistics show that there was an increase of more than 100 people becoming homeless during July.

The homeless charity Focus Ireland responded that its own figures show the number of families who became homeless in Dublin rose by 70 per cent over one month. That means 124 families became homeless in July compared with 73 in June.

“This is the highest monthly number of families becoming newly homeless in Dublin in over three years,” said Pat Dennigan, CEO, Focus Ireland. According to the charity, the highest monthly total before this was 125 families in January 2016.

“This shows there has been a failure to stem the flow of families and individuals into homelessness every month,” he added.

Focus Ireland again called for the government to urgently review its policies to tackle the homelessness crisis as the figures published last week reveal a total of 10,275 people officially homeless in July. This is an increase of 103 people from the total of 10,172 people who were officially homeless in June this year.

“We firmly believe that homelessness can be ended and are working hard to achieve this. Focus Ireland – in partnership with the State – helped 59 families to leave homelessness last month in Dublin which means that 124 children in these families now have a place to call home,” said Pat Dennigan.

However, in the very same month Focus Ireland figures show that more than double that number of families and children became homeless in Dublin.

The figures issued by the Department of Housing in its monthly report for July show that among the 10,275 individuals in emergency accommodation 6497 were adults, 1721 families and 3778 dependants. This means that there was an increase of 103 on the numbers in emergency accommodation from June.

Mr Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, said: “We continue to do everything we can to get people out of homelessness but the increase in July shows that this remains a huge challenge. There are fewer families and children in emergency accommodation today than this time last year. Of course there shouldn’t be any.”

Regional figures show that the crisis has spread to many cities nationwide, with over 500 families and 1000 children now homeless outside of Dublin.

Focus Ireland staff and volunteers put together hundreds of school packs to help the rising number of schoolchildren who are homeless as they returned to school after the holidays.

The charity called for the government to review its policies dealing with homelessness and stated that such a review must examine very carefully how children are being treated in the homeless crisis.

“We know through our work supporting families that homelessness is very damaging to children,” said Pat Dennigan.

Focus Ireland repeated its call for the government to set a cast-iron deadline that no family or individual should be homeless for longer than six months and to put a specific family homelessness strategy in place to deal more effectively with the crisis.

The charity called on the government and all TDs to ensure that they make homelessness a greater priority when they return to the Dáil in mid September.

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