Minister Murphy publishes the
May National Homeless Figures

The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government, Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., noted the publication of the May Homeless Figures today (30 June, 2017).

National Figures May 2017
Homeless Adults 4,922
Homeless Families 1,312*
Dependents 2,777

* adults associated with these families are included in the 4,922 figure

Minister Murphy said today:

“As at the end of May, there were 647 homeless families being accommodated in commercial hotels and B&Bs in the Dublin region. That is of course too many and we continue to deal with an emergency situation.”

“I would however like to commend everyone who has been working so hard to look after these families and to help them find longer term and more sustainable solutions.  They’ve been doing incredible work, especially when you consider that 871 families were recorded as homeless and accommodated in commercial hotels and B&Bs, as at the end of March. The importance of their efforts is even more revealing when we look at the number of new families who presented as homeless during this time. Roughly six hundred did. Half of these families were able to be kept from entering hotels thanks to their work, while the other half has been supported by our agencies in commercial hotels and B&Bs.

“As I indicated earlier this month, there will still be a number of homeless families in hotels as we enter July. This is very regrettable. Working closely with the Chief Executives of the four Dublin local authorities and their teams, we have redoubled our efforts in the past couple of weeks to ensure that the pathway out of commercial hotels for virtually all of these families at the end of May is now clear.”

“This morning I again met with the CEs of the Dublin local authorities, and they confirmed to me the following actions since our last meeting:

  • Families in commercial accommodation as at end of May have been personally contacted and also presented in writing with a solution for exiting their commercial hotel or B&B.
  • Roughly one third of these families will move to permanent social housing in the coming weeks, in accordance with their place on the housing list.
  • Another one third will move into family hubs as a first response, with the remaining families moving into private tenancies (long-term Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) solutions), with supports as necessary.
  • In relation to the additional €10 million which I allocated for additional family hubs last week, good progress is being made in identifying six potential new hubs to accommodate at least 200 families[1].
  • The number of families presenting as homeless in June, while still high, appears to be down on the numbers presenting in May.

“In terms of overall progress since Rebuilding Ireland was published last July, it is worth noting that over 830 families have exited commercial hotels and B&Bs, and 405 families have been prevented from entering commercial hotels in the period up to the end of May of this year.

While there is good progress being made and a range of interventions and supports are in place that are being led by a range of agencies, it’s still a significant challenge and I am considering new policy options and responses to ensure that we can quickly realise the target of no new families presenting as homeless being accommodated in hotels, and those families currently there being offered more sustainable solutions. I will continue to liaise with the local authority Chief Executives in the coming weeks.

“Of course, there are some families in hotels that have exceptional and individual needs and these will continue to receive support in their existing temporary accommodation until a specific solution tailored to their needs is put in place.”

Family hubs are an important first response for families who become homeless and who have no alternative other than commercial hotels. Hotels are not the answer and hubs will provide more appropriate and suitable accommodation for families. They are not a long term housing solution as families will move into houses and apartments that will be provided under social housing supports, as supply becomes available.  This type of emergency accommodation provides a more secure and stable placement for families on an ongoing basis unlike the insecurity of commercial hotel accommodation, especially during peak periods and holidays.

[1] Currently, fifteen hubs are being developed by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive at a total estimated cost of €25million, to provide accommodation for some 600 families at any point in time. The additional funding will add space for at least another 200 families.