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Government ‘knowingly releasing incorrect homeless figures’ – Ó Broin

19 July, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused the Government of ‘knowingly releasing incorrect monthly homeless figures’. The claim was made today as the Dublin Mid-West TD launched a policy paper detailing the numbers of adults and children in state funded emergency accommodation not included in the Department of Housing’s monthly homeless reports.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Every month, the Department of Housing releases figures for the number of adults, families and children in emergency accommodation. The most recent figures for May show 4,922 adults, 1,312 families, and 2,777 children living in hostels, hotels and B&B’s.

“However, these figures only include those adults and children in Department of Housing funded emergency accommodation. The Department of Children and Youth affairs and the Department of Justice also fund emergency accommodation for people who are homeless.

“Despite this being repeatedly brought to the attention of the Ministers for Housing, Children, and Justice, the Government continues to knowingly release incorrect homeless figures.

“This means that the monthly homeless reports significantly underestimate the real level of homelessness.

“The Department of Children and Youth affairs, through Tusla, fund emergency and step down accommodation for adults and children made homeless as a result of domestic violence. The most recent figures provided by Tusla show that in 2015 1,736 adults and 2,621 children were accommodated in these services.

“Many of these families spend more than six months in emergency and step down accommodation.

“The Department of Justice funds the Direct Provision System for people seeking asylum. However, in June, there were 247 adults and 152 children trapped in Direct Provision, despite having their leave to remain. For these families, Direct Provision has become a form of emergency accommodation while they struggle to secure permanent accommodation.

“Some of these families are stuck in Direct Provision accommodation two years after securing their leave to remain.

“I have repeatedly asked the three Ministers responsible to meet and establish a methodology to ensure that the monthly homeless report captures all of these people. This is not just about the accuracy of Government figures. If you don’t know the true level of homelessness, how can you budget for the supply of accommodation that these families need to get out of homelessness?

“This clear discrepancy in the monthly Department of Housing reports also underlines the marginalisation of survivors of domestic violence and migrants in Government policy-making and contributes to the length of time they spend homeless.

“Today, I am again calling on the three Ministers to ensure that the monthly homeless reports include all adults and children in Government funded emergency accommodation.”

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