March 31, 2016, 10:04 a.m.
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IN THE LAST month alone, another 83 families in this country became homeless.The latest figures from Focus Ireland mean 208 families, including 363 children, became homeless in the first two months of 2016.This compares to the total of 739 families becoming homeless throughout the whole of last year.The alarming figures come as Minister Alan Kelly convenes his third homelessness forum.“It’s not enough for this caretaker government and the next government to say they want to tackle homelessness and name check it as a priority,” commented Focus Ireland director of advocacy, Mike Allen. “They have to commit to a coherent set of actions required to achieve this urgently.”The Dublin Region Homeless Executive this week reported that the overall number of homeless children in the capital has doubled in the last year with 1,616 children in emergency accommodation compared to 803 in 2015.Last month, Focus Ireland assisted 36 families in moving out of homelessness – most into local authority homes or private rented accommodation supported by the housing assistance programme.The charity said this movement was helped by the prioritisation of homeless families for social housing and the increase in the level of rent payable through government schemes.