Charity Demands Independent Audit Of Government Homeless Figures
A leading homeless charity has warned that there may be 2,000 homeless people in Ireland who are not included in Government figures.
Inner City Helping Homeless is calling for an independent audit of the Department of Housing Figures.
The figures for June, released today, have highlighted a slight rise in the number of homeless people in Ireland.
According to the Department of Housing there were 9872 people accessing emergency accommodation in June – up 26 from May.
There were 30 more families experiencing homeless than in May – rising from 1,724 to 1,754.
However, the number of homeless children dropped by two from 3,826 to 3,824.
The Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy
The accuracy of the figures has been called into question in recent months after the department claimed a number of people had been wrongly classified as homeless and removed them from the overall figure.
The move led homeless charities to claim that over up 1,000 people had been “recategorised.”
Inner City Helping Homeless CEO Anthony Flynn believes Ireland's true homeless figure is far higher than reported:
“The Minister has continuously recategorised people,” he said.
“He has stated that this hasn’t happened this month. We have up to 1,000 people over the last four months that have been recategorised out of homelessness.
“The Minister’s office is not independently verifying figures – if anything they are taking people out of section 10 funding over the last couple of months and we need these figures independently audited.”
He said homelessness has been consistently on the rise since Minister Murphy took up his position.
"He doesn't want that marker to go over 10,000," he said.
"He is adamant that he keeps it below that; he has succeeded in keeping it below that but he has only succeeded by removing people and recategorising people.
"He hasn't succeeded by actually putting people into homes or building social housing in order to tackle the problem."
The Housing Minister welcomed the drop in the number of children – and claimed the figures indicate a “stabilisation” of the homeless crisis.
“Obviously any increase in people accessing emergency accommodation is unwelcome but it is good to see a decrease in the number of children and we are seeing a continued stabilisation of the numbers of people in emergency accommodation,” he said.
He said a separate survey examining “categorisation issues” is underway. He said “no miscategorisations were identified and corrected” in June.