Housing Minister says economic migrants are factor in rising homelessness levels 7 months ago

Housing Minister says economic migrants are factor in rising homelessness levels

There are currently 9,825 homeless people in the country.

Darragh O'Brien has said that economic migrants from both inside and outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are a factor in growing numbers of homelessness in the country.

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The Minister for Housing made the comments on Newstalk's On The Record on Sunday (1 May).

"It is, firstly, of serious concern, and our job is to continue to reduce the numbers of people experiencing homelessness," O'Brien said.

"I did signal these increases a number of months ago, I expected this to happen before supply really caught up."

O'Brien said that a number of people are experiencing homelessness due to landlords selling houses, leaving tenants without a home.

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"We are also seeing a very significant number of people who, yes, we need to look after too, but who are entering the country from EEA and non-EEA who are going straight into homeless facilities," O'Brien added.

"It's something I've discussed at [European] Commission level, with Commissioner [Nicolas] Schmit, the Commissioner of Social Inclusion, and has been part of meetings that we've had as housing ministers across Europe.

"It's a significant portion, ranges of new family homelessness are between 30-40%."

O'Brien explained that these numbers are totally separate from the numbers of people arriving from Ukraine.

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According to the Minister, the rising number of migrants has made planning for capacity in emergency accommodation as they arrive sporadically into the country without prior notice.

When asked to explain why migrants would travel to Ireland to go into homelessness, O'Brien said there was a "variety of reasons" as to how they came into that situation.

"The fact of the matter is, it is putting a significant strain on our services and has been doing for a long number of months now.

"Not exclusively, our cohort is hit too, and obviously we have to make sure that we provide the service and support for anyone who registers with our homeless services and we do that as best we can."

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