Services for the homeless across Ireland will be “very stretched” if a rise in homelessness coincides with a second wave of Covid-19 over the winter months, the Government has been warned.
Focus Ireland voiced its concern despite a slight drop in the number of people recorded as homeless last month.
New figures from the Department of Housing showed a total of 8,702 people were recorded as homeless in the month of August, compared with 8,728 the previous month, a decrease of 26 people.
In August there were 6,082 adults and 2,620 children homeless in emergency accommodation. Of these 1,120 were families.
Focus Ireland said it welcomed the slight drop in the number of homeless people, but warned of a potential surge in homelessness in the coming months.
The charity reiterated its call for the reintroduction of a moratorium on evictions and rent reviews, due to recent Covid-19 restrictions.
Focus Ireland chief executive Pat Dennigan said “great work” had been carried out to protect the most vulnerable during the public health emergency, but the number of tenants facing eviction was “deeply worrying”.
“Measures such as the moratorium on evictions and rent freezes have clearly worked as the number of children and adults who are homeless has reduced significantly in the last six months,” Mr Dennigan said.
“However, since the lapse of the initial ban on evictions and rent reviews, our services are meeting tenants who are facing notices of terminations and evictions which is deeply worrying.”
He added: “While the legislative protections for those who have experienced a financial loss due to Covid-19 from eviction and rent reviews on the grounds of rent arrears are welcome, and will protect that category of tenant from homelessness until January 2021, our research clearly shows the majority of notices of termination are due to landlords selling their property.
“There is currently no measure to prevent an eviction taking place on this ground, including for a person who lost their job due to Covid-19 and is in rent arrears.”
Picture: A homeless man begs in a lane near Grafton Street, Dublin. (Brian Lawless/PA).