Homeless figures rise nationally, with Limerick no exception

There was another significant rise in national homeless figures in February, according to the most recent data released by the Department of Housing this week. In February, there were 13,341 people recorded as living in temporary and emergency homeless accommodation in the state; 9,671 adults and 4,170 children. This was an increase of 310 people from the previous month.

In Limerick and the wider Mid-West region, there were significant increases in homeless figures across the 30 day period. There was an increase of 31 adults (8.6%) accessing homeless accommodation in Limerick in February. There was an even starker rise in the number of children living in homeless services in Limerick and Clare, increasing by 24% during the same period – a rise of 10 additional families with 32 children.

Una Burns, Head of Advocacy and Communications expressed ‘grave concern’ in relation to the new figures and noted that ‘except for December, when there is traditionally a drop in homeless numbers, there has been increases every month over the last year, with more people continuing to experience the trauma of homelessness.’ Referring to the Mid-West specifically, Burns said that ‘the region has been reporting static figures for a number of months, which was positive compared to national trends, but the figures emerging this month are deeply concerning with more single adults and more families experiencing homeless in the region than ever before.’ She went on to say that ‘we must remember that these figures only refer to people living in emergency accommodation funded by the state and do not consider the thousands of people who experience hidden homelessness everyday; those sofa surfing, living in squats, living is desperately overcrowded accommodation and involuntary sharing with multi generations of their extended family’.

Tacking the homeless crisis with purpose and urgency must be the top priority for the incoming Taoiseach, Simon Harris, says Burns. ‘Greater focus on prevention, acceralted supply of social and affoardable housing and ringfencing housing for people who spend protratcted periods of time is homeless accommodation must all be part of the multi-strand, multi-departmental and multi-agency approach to tackling the spiraling crisis.’