Latest: Minister says there are 'signs of progress' for homelessness crisis

Update 3.46pm: The Housing Minister has said any one family in emergency accommodation is a family too many.

It comes as new figures show that for the first time the number of homeless children is over 3,000.

There are 8,270 people in emergency accommodation around the country.

Eoghan Murphy has said some improvements are being made.

"We have crisis when it comes to homelessness in this country, we know that. We know that when it comes to homeless families, any one family in emergency accommodation is a family too many," Minister Murphy said.

"What we've seen today is that unfortunately the numbers nationally have gone up by 13 families. In Dublin, where most of the families are, the numbers have gone down significantly," he said.

"We're starting to see signs of progress which I think is important. It's still too slow, we know that. That's why we're putting in supports up and down the country to help these people in very difficult circumstances," he added.

Update 2.04pm: A number of children’s and homelessness charities are reacting to the news that more than 3,000 children are now homeless - a record figure, according to the latest data.

June Tinsley, head of advocacy at children's charity Barnardos, said it had been hoped, naively, that the 3,000 level would be seen a ceiling.

"The experience of being homeless - of living in emergency accommodation, is hugely detrimental to a child's well-being," she said.

"Parents that we work with are reporting high levels of anxiety in their children as they try to cope with a life of uncertainty.

"These experiences and memories will stick with these children forever. Every day in homelessness is a day too long for a child."

The Peter McVerry Trust warned that oversight of landlords and insecure tenancies were a major cause of rising numbers of homeless.

Chief executive Pat Doyle said the agency was seeing an increasing number of people becoming homeless after living in the private rental sector.

"We need to see continued action from Government to deal with the rising cost of rents and housing," Mr Doyle said.

"Peter McVerry Trust, and other charities in the sector, are facing an extremely challenging situation to provide enough emergency accommodation, and we therefore recognise the immense challenge that exists in providing an adequate level of housing solutions."

Focus Ireland welcomed the reductions secured in Dublin, with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive helping to support 47 families into a secure home in August.

The charity's advocacy director Mike Allen said: "The fact that the number of families homeless nationwide has hit a record total shows the crisis is also spreading more around the country, and shows the nightmare of homelessness is still very much a reality for a rising number of families and children."

The Budget will be announced on World Homeless Day.

Original story: Official figures released today show that 102 families in Dublin presented as homeless in August.

The number of homeless families also rose nationally, with 1442 families in emergency accommodation.

It means 13 new families entered homelessness in July.

Up to €5.3bn has been ring-fenced for the Government's housing and homeless plan until the year 2021.

The number of homeless children in Ireland has risen above 3,000 for the first time.

The latest figures from the Department of Housing show that there were 8,270 homeless people in Ireland in July – a rise of 110 from the month of June.

There were 3,048 children in emergency accommodation – up from 2,973 in the previous month.

“The Department and local authorities will continue to work closely, quickly and proactively to identify further solutions that will work to help people and families in this very difficult situation,” said a department statement.

“An unprecedented €5.3bn has been ring-fenced for our housing and homelessness plans out to 2021.

“Those plans are currently being reviewed in light of the experiences of the past year and more details of this will be announced shortly for debate and agreement in the Oireachtas.”

The government aims to build 47,000 new social houses by 2021.


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