The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has today (31 July, 2020) published the Homeless Quarterly Progress Report for Quarter 2 and the Monthly Homeless Report for June 2020.
The Quarterly Progress Report is prepared by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, based on quarterly performance reports submitted by the nine regional lead authorities responsible for the administration of homeless services at the local level.
The report shows that 1,467 adults and their dependants exited homelessness into tenancies in Quarter 2. During the first six months of the year, a total of 3,033 exits from homelessness have been achieved. This is a 7% increase on the numbers recorded at the same point in 2019.
The monthly report for June shows that 8,699 individuals were accessing emergency accommodation in June, a reduction of 177 on the May report. This included 6,046 adults and 2,653 dependants. There were 1,159 families accessing emergency accommodation.
Commenting on the figures the Minister said, “Despite the increase in exits from homelessness and the reduction in the numbers accessing emergency accommodation in June, the number of people and families in homelessness is simply too high.
“One of my main priorities as Minister will be to accelerate the numbers of people exiting homelessness and to reduce the time that people spend in emergency accommodation. Improved delivery of social and affordable housing will be key but we will also be focusing on increasing the levels of supports to households with complex needs.
“During Quarter 2 we have seen very good progress in supporting households to exit from homelessness to a tenancy which has resulted in a significant reduction in the numbers accessing emergency accommodation. The reductions have included a significant fall in the numbers of families experiencing homelessness, with the June figures the lowest since August 2016. We need to continue to drive these numbers down.
“Immediately after my appointment I established a High Level Taskforce of delivery partners to target homelessness in the immediate term and to input on the implementation of the commitments in the Programme for Government. I commend the hard work they do on a daily basis and I will continue to work closely with them.”
The Minister also noted the significant challenges presented by COVID-19 during Quarter 2, and the measures taken to protect those in homelessness, “I want to express my gratitude for the dedication and commitment shown by staff working in the local authorities, the HSE and NGO service providers.
“The strong co-operation in challenging circumstances has ensured that incidences of COVID-19 in homeless services have been relatively low. I will be working closely with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to ensure continued close cooperation between our Departments, the local authorities and the HSE.
“We held a bi-lateral meeting earlier this week to discuss measures to be taken by our Departments in relation to COVID-19 and the wider need for collaboration between the two Departments to help homeless people with complex health and mental health needs.”
In recognition of the fact that approximately 70% of adults in homelessness are adults, Minister O’Brien committed to securing more one-bedroom homes. “My Department is working with the local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to secure more properties for homeless households. I recently launched a ‘Call for Housing 2020’, which is a new national call for property owners and developers with vacant properties to make them available for social housing. As part of the July Stimulus I have also allocated an extra €40 million to Local Authorities to refurbish homes and bring them back into the social housing stock.
“The Programme for Government gives a clear commitment to reducing and preventing instances of homelessness. It is an absolute priority for me and for my Department,” concluded Minister O’Brien.
Link to the Quarterly Homeless Quarterly Progress Report for Quarter 2
Link to Homeless Report for June 2020