Once again, the PLC refers to its submission to the National Women’s Strategy and notes with regret that a huge amount of work remains to be done to address the crisis of homelessness in Irish society. In particular, the phenomenon of homelessness during pregnancy has not been addressed in any meaningful way despite the announcement in 2015 by the Head of Medical Social Work at the National Maternity Hospital that there had been a major escalation in the number of pregnant women experiencing homelessness.
One Dublin city-centre refuge for homeless women reported a referral of 17 women to their services in the course of a single month in 2015. It said referrals to its service had almost trebled in the previous three years and it expected more than 50 women to be referred to its Pearse Street centre before the end of the year.
This crisis has not abated; on the contrary, it has worsened. Accordingly to the June 2017 Report from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, (and confirmed by Focus Ireland) a total of 7941 people were homeless for the week of June 19th – 25th 2017. This broke down into 2850 men, 2196 women and 2895 children. The number of families becoming homeless has increased by over 27% since June 2016 and 890 of the 1365 families were single-parent families.