Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and the Department of Housing’s homeless figures for March 2018
Earlier this week.
The Department of Housing released the official homeless figures for March 2018.
The March figures stated that there were 9,681 homeless people in Ireland using emergency accommodation during the week March 19 to 25 of this year.
This was a drop of 126 from the homeless figure of 9,807 in February.
Breaking down the decrease, the March figures showed there were 17 fewer adults, 109 fewer children and 19 fewer families homeless.
It should be noted that the department’s figures include the numbers of people living in Private Emergency Accommodation, which includes hotels, B&Bs and other residential facilities that are used on an emergency basis; Supported Temporary Accommodation, which includes hostels or accommodation with onsite professional support and Temporary Emergency Accommodation, which includes emergency accommodation with no or minimal support.
Earlier this week, the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy claimed that some local authorities had incorrectly counted some people as homeless and that, overall, the figures were overstated by between 600 and 900.
Further to this…
Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Bróin has released a statement, saying:
“This week, I have been talking to a large number of officials working in homeless services in Local Authorities and the voluntary sector, following Minister Murphy’s startling claim that 600 people were miscategorised by councils as homeless and wrongly included in earlier homeless figures.
“I am satisfied that the minister’s claim is false. These people, including many families with children are homeless and are in emergency accommodation arrangements funded by council’s homeless services.
“Despite this, the councils in question received an instruction to remove them from the March homeless report.
“The minister is guilty of knowingly manipulating the March homeless figures. In doing so, he has insulted the staff and management of the local authorities. Worse, he has insulted the adults and children who are homeless by trying to deny that they are living in temporary and emergency accommodation arrangements.
“Due to the dramatic rise in the number of families presenting as homeless and the lack of adequate emergency accommodation, councils across the country have had to develop ad hoc temporary emergency accommodation arrangements using a range of property types.
“None of these arrangements involve tenancy agreements. Rather, families are placed in temporary accommodation, while the council or voluntary sector organisations seek to secure the families permanent housing.
“It is clear that Minister Murphy did not want the March figures to reflect the reality across the state, namely that levels of homelessness continued to rise and had finally breached the 10,000 number. Given that he claimed on Monday that most of the 600 people allegedly miscategorised have now been removed, it is clear that the true March figure is well in excess of 10,000.
“Minister Murphy must immediately clarify the situation. He must admit that he and his department officials instructed councils to remove families in emergency accommodation arrangements from the March homeless figures. He must apologise for the hurt his actions have caused. And he must republish the March homeless figures including all those people living in temporary emergency accommodation arrangements.
“Once again, Minister Murphy has shown that his priority is in the protection of his own political reputation rather than in solving the homeless crisis.”