In the week from 19 October to 25 October last, a total of 8,737 people were in emergency accommodation nationally, of whom 2,642 were children. This compares with a total of 8,656 people, including 2,583 children, in the corresponding week in September, indicating a month-on-month increase in the homeless numbers. The figures had been going down. The Minister stated yesterday morning that 4,400 people were moved to permanent accommodation during the pandemic period. We know this is because of the volume of surplus Airbnb accommodation that came on board. As I said, however, the numbers remain high. The first problem is that we have a revolving door such that for each family housed, another family becomes homeless. Second, housing assistance payment, HAP, tenancies do not provide permanent accommodation, it being at the whim of landlords whether they remove tenants from the tenancy because they are moving family members in or selling the home. As a consequence, the homeless figure has been stubbornly high throughout the recent period.
The new data show that 4,495 single adults were classified as homeless countrywide, including 3,051 in Dublin. In the corresponding week in September, 4,452 adults were registered homeless, 2,994 of them in Dublin. The figures climbed steadily in the capital for five months, with the previous high being 2,906 in March. Over the period of the pandemic, the number of single people becoming homeless has increased significantly.
This is due to the Covid pandemic and family problems with overcrowding. Last month's figures were 93% higher than they were in December 2015. The Minister has claimed Housing First will solve this problem. Housing First has been in operation for the past five years but it has not solved the problem.
There is also the case of those sleeping rough. I heard the Minister yesterday say that no one would be denied safe and secure accommodation, even if they are not habitually living in the area in which they are seeking accommodation. Last night, however, three men were refused accommodation of shelter because they were not living habitually in the Dublin area. One of the men in question, who was from Galway, had come to Dublin and was sleeping in the Phoenix Park. He had got his social welfare transferred to Dublin. When Mendicity rang looking for accommodation for him, the organisation was told that as the individual in question was not on the Dublin city housing list, he was not able to access homeless services. Three people were told last night to sleep on the streets. That is horrendous. I heard today that this has changed. However, I would like to hear from the horse's mouth as to how this has changed given that last night the Lord Mayor of Dublin would not allow an emergency motion on the agenda dealing with this, claiming it was a legislative problem not a question of bureaucracy.