Thousands more people are homeless than the Government is telling us.
This is because the Department of Housing doesn’t count you as homeless if you are not availing of a service paid for by the department.
And shockingly, those whose lives are probably most devastated by the scourge of homelessness, rough sleepers, are also excluded from the official count.
52 of these people have died on the street so far in 2020 and there are fears that more will die leading up to Christmas if the weather gets colder.
The official homessness figures are counted by the Department of Housing and are undercounted by up to 20%, according to a new report from Sinn Féin housing spokesman, Eoin Ó Broin.
Mr Ó Broin has identified four areas where the hidden homeless are not included in official figures.
And when these homeless people are added to the official numbers, it sees almost 2,000 more join the homelessness roll call.
Mr Ó Broin estimates that the real numbers homeless then come to a
The categories that most people would think should be included as homeless – but are not – are the aforementioned rough sleepers, women and children staying in domestic abuse shelters, homeless people staying in hostels or shelters not funded by the Government and former asylum seekers in direct provision funded by the Department of Justice.
When you count all of the people in these categories it adds another 1,815 to the homelessness numbers.
This puts the real numbers facing a homeless Christmas at 10,552 according to Sinn Féin.
And this doesn’t include other homeless people that are very hard to count, like couch surfers and people squashed into overcrowded accommodation by unscrupulous landlords.
Mr Ó Broin told the Irish Mirror last night: “Sinn Féin believe a number of changes must be made in relation to the collection and the publication of homeless data.
“This is not an academic matter.
“If we don’t know the true level of adult and child homelessness how do we know what resources need to be allocated to tackle this problem?
“Sinn Féin makes four recommendations that we believe would aid the collation of accurate data and in turn an adequate provision of homeless accommodation services.
“The Department of Housing must convene the Homeless Consultative Committee and its data sub group, which should include the Department of Housing and other government stakeholders including Tusla and the Reception and Integration Agency in the Department of Justice, Local Authorities, NGOs, the CSO and academics to agree once and for all for the methodology for the homeless reports.
“Sinn Féin believe that an independent agency such as the CSO or the Housing Agency should take over the publication of the figures.
“This monthly report must clearly set out the number of rough sleepers, women and children in domestic violence accommodation, adults and children with leave to remain but using direct provision centres as emergency accommodation and those in non-Section 10 funded emergency accommodation.
“These reports should contain the number of emergency allocations under each department. “This would include the number of people entering and exiting homelessness and the length of time they have been in emergency accommodation.”
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