Homelessness levels are continuing to rise in most of Europe, but Ireland is unique in the severity of recent national spikes in homelessness. According to Ireland's Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the number of people staying in overnight emergency accommodation has more than doubled since 2015.
New research from University College Dublin (UCD) compiles the last decade of evidence on homelessness and health in Ireland, confirming increased risk of illicit drug use, reduced access to a general practitioner, frequent emergency department (ED) presentation, and presentation for self-harm.
The findings published in the Journal of Public Health shed light on an urgent need for more extensive harm reduction programmes, more appropriate mental health supports, and improved strategies for the identification and care of frequent ED attenders. More evidence is needed on multimorbidity, chronic conditions, and how ethnicity interacts with homelessness and health.
Carolyn Ingram, PhD student supervised by Dr Conor Buggy and Dr Carla Perrotta at UCD School of Public Health and an author on the paper said, "With unprecedented rises in homelessness and evidence that disparities in mortality between homeless and housed people are worsening over time, our team saw a need to assemble what is known about homelessness and health in Ireland.
We're excited to present two open access tools that can accelerate future research: an indexed database of all peer-reviewed studies published since 2012 on homelessness and health in Ireland, and a second database of quantitative measures of housing-related health disparities."
Ingram, C., et al. (2023) Homelessness and health-related outcomes in the Republic of Ireland: a systematic review, meta-analysis and evidence map. Journal of Public Health. doi.org/10.1007/s10389-023-01934-0.