Every five hours, another Irish child becomes homeless, according to the charity Focus Ireland, which this week highlighted the extent of the problem.
Citing government figures, Focus Ireland said that in January there
were 7,167 people registered as homeless, 2,407 of whom were children.
The overall number of homeless people is 25 per cent greater than it
was a year ago in January 2016, when the total number of homeless people
was reckoned to be 5,715.
More worryingly, the rate of increase in
homelessness is accelerating even faster – the number of homeless
children is 32 per cent greater than it was 12 months ago, when 1,830
people aged under 18 were without a permanent home.
Looking back at statistics from the last three years, the number of
homeless people in this country has doubled since July 2014, when 3,258
people were registered as being without a home.
Last month, 87 families with 151 children became homeless. Focus
Ireland’s advocacy director Mike Allen said: “This means that,
shockingly, a child became homeless every five hours during the month of
“In recent years we have seen a pattern of a fall in the number of
families becoming homeless in December followed by a sudden increase in
January. This year there is a different pattern with no real fall in
December, and a small fall in January.”
Focus Ireland, founded by Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (Sr Stan) of the
Religious Sisters of Charity, is calling on the government to devote
greater energy to tackling the homelessness crisis.
In particular, it wants the Minister for Housing Simon Coveney to set
out “a clear set of actions and objectives” for the next three years
that will prevent family homelessness and provide support to those
already suffering homelessness.
At present, there are only 1,829 units of social housing under
construction, according to figures quoted in the Dáil on Friday.
the 1950s, when Ireland was not as rich a country as it is now, we were
able to build social housing at a rate of 5,250 units a year.
1970s, again a period not known for great prosperity, we built social
houses at a rate of more than 6,153 a year.