The assessment of households for social housing support, including homeless households, is a matter for individual housing authorities in accordance with the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and associated regulations. The results of the statutory Summary of Social Housing Assessments carried out in 2016 provide updated figures on the number of households who qualified for social housing support across each housing authority, including the number of qualified households whose housing need arose from homelessness. The full results of the 2016 Summary are available on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/summary_of_social_housing_assessments_2016.pdf.
Homelessness is a complex phenomenon which is usually the result of a number of inter-related issues, often including complex personal problems, mental health, addiction, relationship breakdown, family issues, domestic violence, financial loss, economic insecurity, rent arrears, tenancy issues, anti-social behaviour, the vulnerability of migrants, etc. The myriad of issues contributing to homelessness mean that it is of limited value to attempt to classify incidence of homeless presentation to a single causative factor. It is generally accepted that the supply shortage across the housing sector, which in turn is a result of the economic collapse and the associated contraction in the construction sector, has been a driving force behind the increased number of families and individuals presenting as homeless in recent times.
Recent housing authority analysis into reasons for homeless presentations by families identifies two broad categories: departure from private rented accommodation, primarily following receipt of a ‘notice to quit’, and family circumstances which includes both relationship breakdown and overcrowding. As noted, it is overly simplistic to classify presentation by a single causative factor and it is likely in many cases that underlying reasons overlap. This analysis corresponds with recent independent surveys carried out by homeless service providers.