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Single adults entering emergency accommodation at seven times the rate they are exiting homelessness – The Irish Times


Single adults are becoming homeless in Dublin at seven times the rate they are exiting homelessness, while families are presenting to homeless services at twice the rate they are leaving, new data shows.

The latest report from the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), covering movements in and out of emergency accommodation in November, shows 200 single adults became newly homeless – the highest monthly increase in a year – and just 28 single adults exited homelessness.

Of these 28, only 16 found homes in the private rented sector with the support of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), with 11 taking up social housing and one long-term supported accommodation (LTA). There were 3,741 homeless, single adults in November.

“The monthly average number of singles exiting emergency accommodation to tenancies in 2022 is 44, compared with 81 in 2021, 84 in 2020,” says the report.

There were similarly low numbers of families getting out of homelessness. While 62 families became newly homeless just 31 exited homelessness – 12 to the private rented sector via HAP, 18 into social housing and one to LTA accommodation. There were 1,134 families, including 2,549 children homeless in the capital in November.

“The fall in families exiting homelessness to tenancies is concerning,” said Mary Hayes, DRHE director, in the report. “The number of families moving to HAP from emergency accommodation during October (six) was the lowest in at least five years.

“The monthly average number of families exiting emergency accommodation to tenancies in 2022 remains at 33, compared with 57 in 2021, 94 in 2020 and 95 in 2019.”

Of the 1,138 families in emergency accommodation in November, some 178 (15.6 per cent) had been homeless for two or more years; 69 (6.4 per cent) had been homeless between 18 and 24 months.

A total of 173 families (15.2 per cent) were homeless 12 to 18 months; 280 (24.6 per cent) six to 12 months, and, 438 families (38.5 per cent) were homeless six months or shorter.

“When compared to November 2021, the percentage of families in the six-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months categories has increased,” notes the report. “The percentage of families accessing emergency accommodation for six months or less and the percentage experiencing homelessness for 24-plus months has decreased.”

Overall, there were 82 more households in emergency accommodation in November than in October, with 117 more individuals.

“This reflects an increase in both families and single-adult households, but predominantly in single households following the introduction of extra capacity under the cold weather strategy.”

Despite efforts to reduce and ultimately halt the use of commercial hotels to house families, in favour of purpose-provided family hubs, numbers in hotels – usually without cooking or laundry facilities – increased.

“By the end of November 2022, there were 259 families using commercial hotels. This represents an increase of eight families from 251 in October 2022 and compares with 113 in November 2021, an increase of 146 families.” It is dramatically fewer than the 871 families in hotels in March 2017, however, before hubs came on stream.

“While we generally have hub spaces for smaller families, we are often reliant on commercial accommodation for larger family sizes or in locations where there are no/limited alternatives.

“We are working across all local authorities to develop alternatives to hotels with exits to housing the preferred option, followed by NGO-run supported temporary emergency accommodation and contracted accommodation where there are no available housing options.”

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