The government has published its latest report on homelessness. Last month there were 6,052 adults and 3,755 children who were homeless in Ireland, bringing the total close to 10,000 people. These figures include 1,739 families.

The first time full records were available was July 2014. At that point there were 344 families with 749 children staying in emergency accommodation in Ireland.

This represents an increase of over 500% in the number of families, and the number of children, who are homeless, in a period of less than four years.

Worryingly, whilst there was a small fall in the number of single adults who are homeless, between the January and February 2018 figures, the number of families who are homeless increased by over 222 in the month.

In response to the report, Mr. Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, highlighted the “very worrying trend since the beginning of the year in relation to the number of families presenting to our homeless services”.

Nationally the majority of adults who are homeless are staying in supported temporary accommodation (55%), with another 42% in private emergency accommodation including bed and breakfasts and hotels. However, in the South-West region (Cork and Kerry), over 60% of those homeless are in bed and breakfasts and other private emergency accommodation.

There are a total of 91 families living in homeless services in the South-West, representing 128 adults and 222 children. The majority of these people are living in Cork.

At Good Shepherd Cork we have more than 50 women and children staying in Edel House, our emergency shelter, every night. In 2017 our occupancy over the year was over 100%, meaning almost every bed was full every night. We are currently supporting a further 40 + families, with well over 100 children, living in bed and breakfast and other private emergency accommodation.