The number of homeless people in Ireland has reached a new record high after rising for the seventh month in a row.
According to the latest official figures, 122 new people became homeless in January, bringing the total to 11,754 – higher than ever before. A total of 1,609 families are now homeless, including 3,431 children.
The figures were described as “worrying” and “depressing” by the Simon Communities of Ireland, who said that they reflect what the homelessness situation would have been previously if not for the government’s eviction ban.
At the end of October 2022, the government enacted an eviction ban to help people struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. The policy is set to run out at the end of March, an was put in place to buy renters time to deal with the current economic stresses.
People Before Profit are calling to extend the ban past March – though some charities say this is not a solution.
Focus Ireland has argued that an extension of the ban may only be useful to buy the government time to address the underlying causes of homelessness.
According to charity CEO Pat Dennigan, the government “clearly needs more time to take the measures needed, such as getting homeless families into the newly built social housing, introducing measures to stop the exodus of small-scale landlords from the market and most importantly, speeding up the delivery of social and affordable homes.”
Dennigan further urged the government to stop “lurching from one short-term crisis response to the next,” and called on lawmakers to address the problem’s root causes.
This includes taking action to stop the flight of small landlords from the housing market, and ensuring that homeless families receive social housing as it becomes available.