However, Focus Ireland warned of “potential increases in the coming months” and called on the Government to reintroduce the eviction ban and rent freeze to protect people fully during COVID-19.
Decisive action is urgently needed to alleviate the suffering of vulnerable homeless families and children, Minister for Housing is told.
The homeless numbers increased to 8,728 in July, up from 8,699 in June. In July, there were 2,651 children in 1,142 families homeless, according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing.
Homeless figures had passed 10,000 in January 2020 but in June they were down to 8,699, which is 177 less than in May. Of the 8,699 people accessing emergency accommodation in June, 6,046 were adults and 2,653 dependents. There were 1,159 families in emergency accommodation.
"As you log your distance, you will also receive updates about which town you are approaching next, recipes on typical meals along the way, related books, films, podcasts and playlists to keep you in the Camino spirit!" says Laura Hoban of Focus Ireland.
Focus Ireland and its partners have moved 80 families with 150 children out of homelessness since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions, while the Peter McVerry Trust has housed 26 people since the virus struck and expects more to move soon.
There were month-on-month decreases across all demographic and accommodation categories represented in the Department of Housing’s reports.
According to the Department of Housing’s figures there are 3,848 homeless children across 1,726 families, while the total number of homeless reached 10,338 in August 2019.
“A review should look at both the successes and the things that need to change ... This includes actively building social housing, taxing those who hoard building land and better protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction” – Mike Allen.
“The electorate want this problem solved, believes it can be solved but does not believe any party has yet put forward the solutions that are needed to solve it. It is up to the newly elected councillors to show what can be done” – Pat Dennigan, Focus Ireland.
Focus Ireland stressed that much good work is being done but the crisis will continue without a substantial increase in social housing provision as a matter of urgency and a move away from providing yet more emergency accommodation and hubs.
“Solving homelessness is not a matter of moving people between sofa surfing, hotel rooms and Hubs, it is about providing an adequate supply of affordable, secure homes, with support where needed,” said Mike Allen.
There is a risk people can become desensitised to the depth of this crisis and we must always remember behind each single number is a child, a man or a woman who is homeless and who is suffering.
“We believe homelessness is not something that is happening to someone over there that we can ignore. It is completely bound up with the high rents that people are facing, it is the young people not being able to buy or rent homes, it’s the people in mortgage arrears” – Mike Allen, Focus Ireland
Students at Dublin school are hopeful they can match last year's donations which raised almost €200,000 for Focus Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust and Home Again.
“Think for a moment of what it would be like this Christmas to be without a home. To be without a place of shelter. To be out in the cold. To be on your own, living on the streets.”
There were 9,891 people living in hotels, bed and breakfasts and family hubs in July, up from 9,872 people in June, with 43 more children homeless in July than in June.
We need to ensure the money is spent wisely, but it is not the most significant cost. The most significant cost is to the people involved and to the fabric of our society – Focus Ireland Life President and Founder, Sr Stanislaus Kennedy.
“The lack of reliable data, from construction generally to social housing to homelessness, is unacceptable and provides a poor base for policy-making” – Social Justice Ireland (SJI).
The one million euro will be used to help housing projects in Dublin, Limerick and Cork – but as homelessness crisis worsens, this is but a drop in the ocean.