herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Children make up a quarter of State's homeless

The majority – 102 out of 123 – of Ireland’s rough sleepers are in the capital
The majority – 102 out of 123 – of Ireland’s rough sleepers are in the capital

More than 5,000 people are currently homeless in Dublin, representing more than 70pc of the population across the State with nowhere to call home.

New Census data also shows that 102 of the 123 people sleeping rough nationwide are in the capital, with men accounting for the vast majority.

The Central Statistics Office's (CSO) latest report from Census 2016 shows a large rise in homelessness across the State.

In 2011, some 3,744 were classed as homeless, compared with 6,906 today.

Soaring

The CSO said the figures for 2016 were not directly comparable, as those in long-term accommodation were excluded, while those in emergency homes including hotels and guest houses were counted. But they highlight the number of people unable to secure a home due to the lack of units or soaring rents.

It also shows that the average age of homeless people is 31, far lower than the overall average of 37 in the general population. One in four homeless people is a child under the age of 18.

It also indicates that more than half (56pc, or nearly 900) are working. Just over 2,000 are unemployed or looking for a job, and 607 are unable to work due to an illness or disability.

"It is hugely concerning to see the increase in young people who are becoming homeless," said homeless charity Simon Communities Ireland.

"We know that people who have experience of homelessness in their youth are more likely to become homeless again as adults.

"Nobody should have to experience homelessness, but it is particularly poignant to experience it as a child or young person.

"These figures show that people who are homeless are less likely to have higher education qualifications. We must ensure people have the supports necessary to access the education and training that they need to live independently."

The results also show there were 429 students who were homeless on Census night. Some 896 families were homeless, as well as more than 400 people aged 60 or over.

The survey also shows:

  • Some 14pc of homeless people are non-Irish. The highest foreign nationalities are British and Polish.
  • Just over 1,600, or 38pc, did not have a third-level qualification compared with 27pc of the general population.
  • Homeless people are more likely to be divorced or separated, with 12pc in this category compared with 6pc of the general population.
  • Respondents also said they were less likely to enjoy good health, with men more likely than women to say they had bad health. Just under 40pc of people aged 55 to 64 said they had "very good" or "good" health.

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