Minister Murphy’s statement on April homeless figures

Mr. Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, today, (30 May 2018) published his Department’s April Homelessness Report. The report, based on data provided by housing authorities, captures details of individuals accessing State-funded emergency accommodation arrangements that are overseen by housing authorities.

The figures show that overall there are 29 fewer people accessing emergency accommodation than was the case in March.

  National Figures                                 April 2018                                    
  Adults   5,963
  Families   1,712*
  Dependents   3,689

*Adults associated with these families are included in the 5,963 figure

Commenting on the figures Minister Murphy said: “The report for April shows a reduction in the number of adults and families accessing emergency accommodation, which is welcome. I have said before that monthly reporting makes it difficult to identify any developing trends at an early stage, but from these figures it would seem that the presentation of new families in to emergency accommodation is stabilizing. That said, while the number of families in emergency accommodation is down this month, a small number of families with a large number of children did present, meaning that the number of dependents has risen by 43.”

“Moving people out of emergency accommodation while others continue to present as homeless remains a significant challenge. People familiar with this issue will know that two reports are currently being prepared to help us improve our response to the crisis – one from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, looking in to new trends evident since the beginning of the year; and an interim report from the Inter-Agency Group established at the first Housing Summit, which seeks to better coordinate Government-led interventions. When I have received both reports I intend bringing forward new proposals that will have a further positive impact on the crisis.”

As reported by Minister Murphy when the March homeless figures were published, a categorisation issue arose in the compilation of those figures and was corrected. Ongoing work in this area in the context of the April report has identified a further 18 households in Meath (45 people) and 65 households in Dublin (252 people) who are in homes rather than in emergency accommodation.  The figures in the report reflect this.

The Department has written to each local authority seeking details on the accommodation categories for the individuals and families being recorded as being in emergency accommodation in the Department’s March Homelessness Report. Given the critical importance of exiting families and children from emergency accommodation, it is crucial that our reporting systems allow us to measure progress in meeting this challenge.

The Minister also outlined measures aimed at homeless individuals who sleep rough or use emergency accommodation on a long-term basis.  A National Implementation Strategy for Housing First is due to be submitted to the Minister in June, setting targets for the expansion of Housing First nationally. The Minister stated “Housing First is an effective route out of homelessness for homeless individuals who sleep rough or who are long-term users of emergency accommodation.  We know that Housing First is working in Dublin with a retention rate approaching 90% for the 192 people who have been housed under this new programme. Further programmes are now commencing in Cork, Galway and Limerick.  My Department is working closely with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Department of Health, the HSE, local authorities and NGOs on the implementation of Housing First.  The National Plan will set ambitious targets to increasing the number of supported tenancies with the local authorities and the HSE working closely to provide a coordinated delivery of housing and health supports”.