Understanding Homelessness in Ireland

Peter McVerry SJ
Homelessness can mean losing your dignity

How many people are homeless?

Globally, there are 100 million homeless people.

Very often when we think of homeless people, we think of people living in shanty towns and shacks in developing countries. However, homelessness exists in developed countries too, including Ireland.

The lastofficial homelessness censuscounted 3,808 homeless people in Ireland in 2011. It is now estimated that there are over 5,000 people who are homeless in Ireland.
Many more live in housing that is inadequate.

Although homelessness has increased in the last few years, April 2015 saw the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin decrease by 40% from 168 in November 2014 to 105. However, the number of people in emergency accommodation has increased by more than 300 to 1,872.

Why do People Sleep Rough?

A number of reasons contribute to why people sleep rough. These include a shortage in the number of beds available in emergency hostel accommodation, difficulties in accessing services and fear and intimidation that people may feel when accessing a hostel. Others find it hard to fit into the regimes in the hostels, some, fear the lack of privacy and security in many hostels.