Homelessness in Ireland

Educational Resources on Homelessness

What is Homelessness?

When you think about home, what comes to mind? Do you think of buildings, houses or a place to stay or do you think of other things like security, love, family, support, warmth and food?

A home is not just the possession of a physical space to sleep. Homelessness is the problem faced by many people who lack a place to live that is supportive, affordable, decent, and secure.

Generally speaking…

Although there is no universally accepted definition of homelessness, it can be defined narrowly to include only people without a roof over their heads or it can be defined more broadly, as is the case in many countries in the world. The broader definition would describe homeless persons as people who are roofless, people who are houseless, and people who live in insecure and inadequate housing.

Legal Definition in Ireland

The Housing Act 1988 provides a classification of homelessness under Section 2 of the legislation, for the purpose of assessment by a housing authority, as someone in a situation whereby:

“a) There is no accommodation available, which in the opinion of the authority, he, together with any other person who normally resides with him or who might reasonably expected to reside wit him, can reasonably occur or remain in occupation of, or

b) He is living in a hospital, county home, night shelter or other such institution and is so living because he has no accommodation of the kind referred to in paragraph (a) and he is, in the opinion of the Authority, unable to provide accommodation from his own resources.”

This definition of homelessness in the Housing Act represents the legal basis upon which local authorities respond to housing need. In practice, however, homelessness can consist of a range of situations including sleeping on the streets, sleeping in places not intended for night-time accommodation, a public or private homeless shelter, emergency lodging such as B&B or hotel rooms.


10,000+ People are currently experiencing homelessness in Ireland.

The monthly net increase is 110 individuals.

Learn more about Homelessness