Minister Murphy’s statement on
the March homeless figures

Mr. Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, today (30 April 2018) published his Department’s March 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 there are 126 less people accessing emergency accommodation. This is made up of 17 adults, 19 families and 109 dependents. Family presentations have also dropped by almost 50% in the Dublin region from 261 in February, to 135 in March.  However, a categorisation error has been discovered and this matter is addressed below.

National Figures March 2018
Homeless Adults 6,035
Homeless Families 1,720*
Dependents 3,646

*Adults associated with these families are included in the 6,035 figure

Commenting on the figures Minister Murphy said: “While the level of presentations remains a challenge the drop in the number of families presenting to our emergency accommodation services in Dublin is welcome, as is the significant work that is going into prevention. I want to thank everyone for their increased efforts over the last period.

“On the publication of the January homeless figures, I stated that I had asked the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to investigate increasing numbers with a view to preparing a detailed report and recommendations. This report is almost finished. However, in the course of this work more recently in relation to the preparation of homeless figures for March, significant mis-categorisations have been discovered, which have overstated the total number of people that are in emergency accommodation in the State today.”

“A number of local authorities have erroneously categorised individuals and families living in local authority owned or leased housing stock, including in some instances people renting in the private sector but in receipt of social housing supports, as being in emergency accommodation. To date at least 600 individuals have been identified as having been categorised as homeless and in emergency accommodation when they are not. Some but not all of these individuals have been removed from the total numbers, but work continues with Local Authorities to gauge the total extent of the issue. It is quite clear that the current reporting model needs to be reformed as such errors undermine our ability to properly understand the extent and nature of the problem, as well as inform policy decisions around solutions.  The Dublin Region Homeless Executive has been doing a more detailed piece of work on reporting as part of the review which I commenced earlier in the year and I hope to publish their report and recommendations once I receive them.”

“We continue with our significant task of finding sustainable tenancies for the families and individuals currently in emergency accommodation, and we know that we are going to continue to face a serious challenge as people continue to present to our homeless services in large numbers. The Inter-Agency Group which I established last September is due to present a report to me shortly on how best to address the varied and complex issues before us.”

Minister Murphy pointed to the significant increase in social and private house building that is currently underway, and which is necessary for sustainable solutions. “Earlier this month I published details of the increasing social house building programme under Rebuilding Ireland, and people will be aware from our 2017 report that Rebuilding Ireland is ahead of its social housing provision target – some 26,000 social housing tenancies were created and supported last year. This is just on the social housing side – every indicator on the private residential building side is showing dramatic increases in housing supply.”

The Minister also referred to the reduction in rough sleepers recorded in the Dublin Region Homeless Executive’s Spring Count. “In the recent count of rough sleepers taken in the Dublin region, we saw a 40% reduction since last November – there are now just over 100 people sleeping rough in Dublin, in many ways the most vulnerable people when we talk about homelessness. Housing First is the solution here and a five-year implementation strategy for Housing First will be published in June and will contain measures to extend the programme nationally.” Housing First enables people who may have been homeless and who have high level of complex needs to obtain permanent secure accommodation with the provision of intensive supports to help them maintain their tenancies.

Read the report in full here