Homeless families in emergency accommodation such as B&Bs and hotels will be included in the census for the first time ever this month.
This new strategy devised by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) protects the identity and privacy of these families, while recording a large new sector of Ireland’s population.
Homeless people were first included in the census in 2011. This year's census will be the second ever count of the homeless.
Focus Ireland and The Dublin Region Housing Executive (DRHE) are working with enumerators from the CSO to record both rough sleepers and those in emergency accommodation.
In 2011 families in purpose provided emergency accommodation were counted, in comparison this year will include all homeless people, whether they are staying in hotels or with family.
Tony Downes of the CSO says that they are taking “great care” to capture the extent of the homelessness problem and are, “conscious of the sensitive nature of the count”.
The census exists to “capture everyone in the country” at a given time and this is what they want to achieve as “accurately as possible this year”.
“Five years down the line homelessness has increased significantly and the numbers are greater than ever before,” he said.
The number of homeless people in emergency services has risen by 30% since January 2015. “It can be very difficult to count every single person due to various scenarios and situations, we may not get a definitive result, but it will be as close as we’ll get,” said Sarah Sheridan of Focus Ireland.
Dublin has the highest rate of homelessness in Ireland. There are more males than females recorded sleeping rough and the majority of homeless people are between the ages of 25 and 44.
The full report is to be released in April 2017.