Councils Instructed To Remove Homeless From Homeless Report


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.”


Minister Murphy ‘knowingly manipulated March Homeless Figures’ – Ó Broin (Sinn Fein)


33 thoughts on “Councils Instructed To Remove Homeless From Homeless Report

  1. b

    So a family who is placed in a house rented by the council until a more permanent house is found is considered homeless?

    didn’t know that

    1. tycho

      Of course they are, they are living in temporary accommodation and are still enduring the anxiety and sense of precariousness that goes along with that. It’s not rocket science, is it?

      1. b

        if the council can lease these properties why can’t they just sublet them to the families involved on the same basis? seems an obvious solution

    2. scottser

      there are many forms of homelessness under different typologies. having no security of tenure is one form of homelessness and without that intervention the family would be roofless. are you suggesting that someone who has a roof over their heads such as a hotel or hostel accommodation is not and can not be homeless? are you going to be that obtuse?

  2. scottser

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    Yeah, I got this from the local government daily updates:

    Council memo: Department asked for exclusions from homeless figures
    The Journal reports that a memo from the Housing Services division of Louth County Council attributed a reduction in the number of homeless people in the county in March to a Housing Department request to exclude certain households from the figures. The memo notes that the council has been leasing private houses from landlords to provide an alternative to B&B or hotel accommodation for the homeless, but that such accommodation is only provided on a temporary basis. “It is important to note that the Council still consider these individuals as homeless,” the memo states, despite which: “For the March national figures the Department requested all Local Authorities not to include these households in the figures reported.”
    The Journal

    Here’s a load of homeless people but because they’re in a rented property used as homeless accommodation they are not classed as homeless?
    It’s an obvious attempt by the department to make a local authority lie about its figures.

  3. tycho

    Blah, blah, blah … something negative about Sinn Féin … deflection … whataboutery … etc. Who’s up first?

    1. Rob_G

      Sinn Féin is the largest party, and the chair of, the housing committee on DCC (the local authority where most of these homeless people reside in).

      Local authorities are responsible for provision of homeless services in Ireland, so I don’t really think it is whataboutery or deflection to ask Eoin what his colleagues (and the other DCC councillors, to be fair) are doing about the homeless problem.

      1. tycho

        They are asking the government for a housing strategy, they are asking for a commitment to a social housing programme. The government, those who are in control of those things, HAVE DONE NOTHING. But like I say, blah, blah, blah … deflection … whataboutery … I’m an amoral shill … I would defend the state-sanctioned manslaughter of women with cancer as long as it’s good for the optics … I am a shameful human being … etc.

        1. Rob_G

          ” I would defend the state-sanctioned manslaughter of women with cancer as long as it’s good for the optics”

          – what are you scuttering on about?

          1. Rob_G

            Great, well done you.

            SF couldn’t give a toss about homelessness, other than as a stick to beat the government with. Social deprivation rates in West Belfast is among the worst in the UK – do they take any proactive action to address this? Of course not, if they actually cared about their constituents they would make more of an effort to get the Executive up and running again. Nearly 18 months without a functioning government, unbelievable (of course, the politicians salaries are still paid).

            Similarly on this side of the border – the way councils pay for things like HAP and social housing is through the LPT. Sinn Féin (among others, has to be said) voted to reduce LPT by the highest possible amount, thereby defunding all of these services. Laughable hypocrisy from Sinn Féin.

          2. tycho

            Whataboutery … I couldn’t give a flying fupp who delivers the news, Sinn Féin are bunch of chancers, agreed.

            The facts remain though. Fine Gael has, and continues to, fail, fail and fail again, in an epicfashion in key areas of governing.

            I wtry to avoid giving it the cliched leftie “Oh, look at them making the already rich, richer, while shitting on the most vulnerable”, because that doesn’t explain the full story. It’s not just that they are pooping on society’s least capable, they are instrumental in increasing the numbers of those living vulnerable lives. It’s time for them to go.

      1. tycho

        Blah, blah, blah … something negative about Sinn Féin … deflection … whataboutery … etc.

  4. Cian

    Some of those March numbers look suspect – but I doubt they are changed by 600-900.

    If you look at the change from February to March the following stands out to me:
    North-East -95 people 61% drop
    South-East -26 people 7% drop
    South-West -32 people 7% drop
    North East has removed 95 people (61%) out of homelessness? Looks dodgy.

    The rest of the numbers seem reasonable – if we can believe an extra 25 people (+8.5%) in the Mid East; then a drop of 26 people (-7%) is also believable.

    1. Cian

      ….similar changes in Family homeless . North East “dropped” from 63 families (247 people) to 23 (84 people).

      North East has dropped a total of 258 people in one month.

    2. b

      There are 3 categories here
      PEA – Private Emergency Accommodation: this may include hotels, B&Bs and other residential facilities that are used on an emergency basis
      STA – Supported Temporary Accommodation: accommodation, including hostels, with onsite professional support
      TEA – Temporary Emergency Accommodation: emergency accommodation with no (or minimal) support

      I wonder how many of the PEA’s are proper houses and apartments (not hotel rooms etc) that the only thing defining homelessness is the security of tenure? If a family get a one-year lease, are they still homeless?

      1. tycho

        They are not getting one year leases, they are living precariously and temporarily.

          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            That would be great. I don’t think anyone is disputing that.

            But as it is, our government is already relying heavily on the private rental market to serve as social housing. I’m not saying that the idea isn’t a good one, but right now it’s not feasible.

  5. Joe cool

    Homeless crisis, health service in tatters. Why do fg always makes an absolute pigs ear of it every time they are in power

  6. Topsy

    Just listening to this story on radio – more government dishonesty & arm twisting of Co Cos for narative to fit the gov lies.

  7. anne

    Gotta work them homeless figures like the jobs figures.

    Tis not good for the aul spin machine.

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