Homelessness in Longford: Almost 100 homeless people across the midlands according to Census records

Central Statistics Office (CSO) publishes fifth thematic report of Census 2016 results

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Homeless

There are approximately 30 homeless people in Longford at any given time

The Central Statistic Office (CSO) has today release a report on the number of homeless people across the country on the date of the 2016 Census.

The report shows that, on the night of April 24, 2016 (Census Night), 6,906 persons were either sleeping rough or in accommodation designated for the homeless. Of these, 4,018 were male and 2,888 were female.

Across the midlands, there were 94 homeless people - 50 male and 44 female.

Census figures also show that the average age of the homeless population nationally was 31 years compared with 37 years for the general population. Of the 6,906 homeless persons counted in Census 2016, 1,846 persons were aged 0-17 years, with 1,594 being children in family units. A further 413 persons (6%) were aged 60 and over.

On a marital status basis, nationally, 55% of homeless persons aged 15 and above were single, compared with 41% of the general population. While almost 48% of the general population were married/remarried, only 9% of those homeless were.

The rate of separation/divorce was just above twice that of the general population – just over 12% compared to 6%. Of those enumerated on census night, 22% did not provide information on this topic.

“This report will help to further improve our understanding of this complex issue, by providing important new information on the social and economic circumstances of homeless persons," said Deirdre Cullen, Senior Statistician with the CSO.

"The collection of data in this important area could not have been achieved without the input and assistance of a broad range of both government and non-government stakeholders, and the CSO would like to thank all concerned for their cooperation in this.”

In March of this year, the Longford Leader spoke to Midlands Simon Community CEO, Tony O’Riordan, about the number of homeless people in the county.

Mr O'Riordan informed this reporter that at any given time in Longford, there are approximately 30 people who are homeless around the county.

“But the issue isn’t as visible here in the county of Longford as it is in the bigger cities. You’re not going to see people sleeping in shop fronts or doorways, in any of the towns. But yet, we’re working with over 30 people each week, right through the week,” he said.

Mr O'Riordan also told the Leader that only 1.5% of the Government's total spend on homelessness is allocated to the Midlands region. That is despite the Midlands having models of support that are seen as the best in the country, and that are delivered at a fraction of the cost of other services.

“Last year, the Mazar's report, commissioned by the Department of the Environment, estimated that it was costing the State 20 grand per homeless person. But the cost to the State here in the Midlands is between two and three grand per person,” Mr O'Riordan explained.

“So on every indicator in terms of quality and value for money, we’re delivering. And yet the region is only getting 1.5% of the Government’s spend on homelessness.”

For more on this story, see Homelessness in Longford: the facts and the figures