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 Central Statistics Office (CSO) data on Enforced Deprivation shows almost 900,000 people were going without basics prior to the pandemic – an increase of over 140,000 from the previous year. More than one in five children are now experiencing enforced deprivation.
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.
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.
It was humbling to visit Simon Armagh to offer our support and to speak and pray with the residents and staff, says Archbishop Martin.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Sr Jean Quinn had highlighted that there is no universally agreed definition of homelessness, making it difficult to compare and combat globally.
Any future government must prioritise the common good, says Bishop Alan McGuckian.
“We restate our call for increased investment in state-provided housing; measures to limit rent increases, improve security of tenure, and protect families who face eviction from their home; and proposals to convert unused buildings into social housing.”
Fr Peter McVerry said it is because of their safety and comradeship that so many people who are homeless elect to live in tents.
Bishops urged Christians to stand and work together to show solidarity and pastoral outreach and to give hope to people, assuring them that they do not have to face this problem of homelessness alone.
"We encourage all Catholics to make time during the season of Advent to celebrate and receive the gift of God’s love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation” – Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
"Voters have a duty to inform themselves on the position of election candidates in respect of their willingness to support and cherish equally the lives of mothers and their unborn children" – bishops in Northern Ireland.
“We need to remember that this homelessness and housing crisis is not a normal situation, and should not be seen as acceptable on any level” – Simon Communities.
"It is totally unacceptable for a rich country like Ireland that so many children have no place to call home,” said SVP National President Kieran Stafford.
At a Mass to remember deceased members of the women’s forum, Dr Martin hit out at the traffic in drugs as “a horrific example of the exploitation of the vulnerable”.
Every day the Capuchin Centre meets the tragic human casualties of failed government policies, says Bro Kevin Crowley OFM.
“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.
“Demolitions in Sur Baher serve only to undermine the human rights of Palestinians and jeopardise hopes for long-term peace and a two-state solution.”
The report finds that while HAP is intended to help families pay for a place to live, the reality is that HAP is so low that many cannot afford private rental accommodation.
“The greatness of the story of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is the witness of those men and women who became real friends with the poor.”
“A social housing policy that relies so heavily on the private rented sector can never be the answer to the housing problem.”
“A lot of people don’t feel safe going into emergency one-night hostels because they get robbed, they get assaulted, they are offered drugs,” Jesuit campaigner warns.
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
“May all of us, by our love, bring light and hope to all whose lives are troubled this Christmas.”
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.
“We must not tolerate the fact that nearly 4,000 children are homelessness in our society.”
“It must be remembered that these are not just statistics, these are real people – men, women and children with lives, and hopes, and dreams” – Threshold.