The number of homeless children in Ireland has risen by 70 in a month, according to government figures.
Official figures for the week 19-25 August showed 10,338 people were living in emergency accommodation in Ireland – 6,490 adults and 3,848 children.
This is an increase on July’s figures, when a total of 10,275 people were registered in emergency accommodation.
The figures have remained above 10,000 for the past seven months.
Adult men outnumber the amount of homeless women by more than 1,000.
Dublin remains the worst-hit area of the country, with 1,280 homeless families – including 2,850 children – in some form of emergency accommodation. Of these, 729 are single-parent families.
The government has been criticised for the way in which it counts and designates homeless people – people living in Direct Provision centres who are long past their asylum-acceptance dates due to lack of housing stock, sofa surfers, rough sleepers, and those in domestic violence shelters are not counted within the official homeless figures.
Father Peter McVerry, a homelessness campaigner and advocate, has said he believes the number without homes is closer to 15,000.
The level of homelessness has been deemed the worst in the history of the state by the government and campaigners, who say rising and unaffordable rents, as well as a lack of social housing, are the main contributors to the issue.
Housing minister Eoghan Murphy has survived a motion of no confidence during his tenure and has come under sustained criticism for his perceived inability to tackle the issue head-on, as well as a number of political missteps including comparing a co-living proposal which would see up to 40 adults share a kitchen to a “boutique hotel”.
Charity Focus Ireland has called on the Government to reflect the urgency of the deepening homeless crisis in next week’s Budget on October 8.
Pat Dennigan, from the charity, said: “We have to remember that the experience of losing your home and becoming homeless is in itself deeply traumatic for anyone – most of all children.
“While other children were enjoying our glorious summer, 466 children faced the anxiety and fear of losing their homes, while many others continued to live out their lives in hubs, hotels rooms and other unsuitable facilities.
“With Budget 2020 just over a week away the government need to use this opportunity to be more ambitious in relation to the number of houses that are being built.
“In particular, the government should increase the proportion of social and affordable housing which the Land Development Agency should deliver from the current 10% social housing to 15%.
“The government should also act on the ESRI recommendation for a more aggressive tax on building land which is being left idle.”
Eoin O’Broin, Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman has called on the government to build more social housing.
“We need to stop these families becoming homeless and with the Budget coming up Minister Murphy, and his counterpart in Fianna Fail, has the opportunity to demand more resources to build more public houses,” he said.
“We are calling on both Fianna Fail and Fine Gael to drop their opposition to the Focus Ireland amendment as this is the best way to keep families from becoming homeless as it restricts the landlord’s ability to seek vacant possession notices to quit.”
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