THE CIRCULAR

Is Covid pandemic the only catalyst to the rise of homelessness ?

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

In September 2021, 8,475 persons were counted as homeless, with children accounting for over a quarter of those without a home in the state as per the report of Department of Housing. During the early stages of the Covid-19 epidemic, the number of homeless individuals in Ireland decreased significantly, from a peak of over 10,000 in late 2019. However, the numbers have begun to grow again during the pandemic , with a 263 increase between August and September in 2021. According to the department’s statistics, 1,005 families were homeless in September, up from 953 the month before. The city with the most homeless families, 752, was Dublin. There were 6,131 homeless adults, with men accounting for two-thirds of the total, and women accounting for 2,113. The number of young people who are homeless has risen dramatically in the first half of 2021, with 989 people aged 18-24 being designated as homeless in the most recent report. In October 128 persons aged 65 and up were recognized as being homeless.

Infographic created by Dipyasuruj Konwar from Canva

For the fourth year in a row, the number of homeless people in the United States increased. In January 2020, there were more than 580,000 homeless people in the United States on a single night, a 2% rise over the previous year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued figures on Thursday that do not reflect the pandemic’s impact.

 Apart from all the challenges faced during covid 19, national housing charity Threshold, at the launch event of its 2020 annual report, stated that the year served well in tackling the private rented housing problems.

Spokesperson Gavin Elliot spoke about the significant impact made by the organization in the sector throughout the year 2020.

“Public health emergency which emerged in the early March 2020 was a huge challenge working for the homelessness sector. But atleast it is possible to say that threshold dealt with the challenges that the organization was able to represent and help people who needed our assistance,” says Gavin Elliot.

In early 2020, there were 1000 termination cases of tenants to leave their homes as a result of their fell in the income and also in the reduction of the housing supply. In relation to that Threshold played a heavy role in making it possible for tenants, including over 7000 adults and 4000 children, to have the roof over their head not removed.

“2020 Threshold saved 7,121 adults and 4,026 children from the chaos and trauma of homelessness” – threshold annual report 2020.

The organization continued to provide advice to the help seekers through their newly launched webchat service which was started in August 2020 attending almost 4000 enquiries in the second half of the year. As a matter of importance it is to be noted that the legislative’s actions in the year 2020 also have been impressively helpful in making supportive efforts towards the private rented housing sector through the implementation of the four legislation that impacted the rent support and pandemic unemployment payment to the renters.

“The important aspect is not only how we operate our services but also around the rules on rent and how the staff responded to the challenges,” says Gavin Elliot.

The efforts made by the organization including the utmost diligent works of the members of the charity, impacted highly to the sector influencing the lives of thousands of people. Threshold as a charity organization reduced the risk of the covid 19 spread among the private renters by helping them from becoming homeless and making rents affordable for them. The spokesperson also spoke about the difficulties rising due to the rise in the rent and the legislations related to the eventual ceasing of the ability of landlords to end tenancies. Gavin Elliot emphasizes that in the year 2020, measures have been taken to improve the private rented housing sector despite of being faced with changing circumstances brought forth by covid 19 and that the long term policy of the organization playing together with the temporary measures, together building a base for achieving positive outcomes in the sector.

Gavin Elliot also spoke about the government influences and charities working together to bring forth the desired results in the year comparing them to the previous years before covid situation. He also stated about the organization’s ways of operation along with the advices for the student’s accommodation facilities, finding sustainable solutions in the sector when asked.

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