Youth Homelessness in Ireland

The number of young people experiencing homelessness has increased by 49% in 2022. In January 2023, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) reported that 1,423 young people aged 18-24 were officially homeless (i.e. living in emergency accommodation funded through Section 10 of the Housing Act). This compares to a figure of 640 in January 2016, a 122% increase in just seven years. 

Research shows the trajectory towards youth homelessness often begins during childhood with those who have experience State care or those on the margins of State care, young LGBTQ+ people, and young Travellers disproportionately represented.

There is no accurate data on the number of young people who are not included in the official figures but are considered homeless under the internationally recognized ETHOS typology1 (the hidden homeless; those sofa-surfing, squatting etc.). International evidence suggests that a higher proportion of homeless young people are likely to be ‘unofficially homelessness’ than is the case for older homeless people2. While the Coalition recognizes the DHLGH figure to be an accurate measure of the numbers living in state-funded homeless accommodation, the Coalition is concerned with ending all manifestations of youth homelessness.

While the official definition of youth homelessness under the National Youth Homelessness Strategy is those aged 18-24, it must be recognized that the experiences of older minors plays a critical role in creating the conditions for young adult homelessness, as noted above. For this reason the policies and services for older minors are part of the Coalition’s concerns.

2., ETHOS categories 6.3, 8.1 and 8.2 apply in particular

3. Quilgars, D., Johnsen, S. and Pleace, N. (2008) Youth Homelessness in the UK: A Decade of Progress? (York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation).