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12,691 people in emergency accommodation in August, including record number of children

MORE THAN 12,000 people slept in emergency accommodation around the country in August, including a record-high number of children.

8,796 adults and 3,895 children, bringing the total to 12,691 people, accessed emergency accommodation last month, according to newly released figures from the Department of Housing.

The figure is lower than the total of 12,847 announced last month — however, officials have stated that the decrease is due to correcting an error that was made in processing data on homelessness and does not reflect any significant change in the number of people accessing emergency accommodation.

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) has appointed an independent reviewer to examine data for the Dublin region and the County and City Management Association has agreed to an external review of data collection procedures across all nine regions used to count homelessness.

In a statement, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said that “reliable, accurate and accessible data is vital to the work of my department and in maintaining public trust”.

“Any statistical errors are concerning and we have put in place a number of processes to ensure the integrity of the data going forward,” he said.

“I will review and expedite any recommendations arising from this work to uphold robust data collection in this vital area.”

The data for August shows that the number of children living in emergency accommodation surpassed a previous record of 3,873 in September 2019, according to charity Focus Ireland.

Responding to the figures, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said the government is “not using anywhere near enough of the new social housing supply coming on stream to drive down homelessness”.

“Families and single people who are long-term homeless need to get a fairer share of the new homes that become available,” Dennigan said.

Of the 8,796 adults in emergency accommodation, 6,305 were in Dublin, 577 were in the south-west, and 438 were in the mid-east, with the remaining adults spread throughout the country.

More than half — 53% — are between the ages of 25 and 44. 28% are aged 45 to 64 and 17% are between 18 and 24, while just 2% are aged 65 or older.