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Abstract

The last two decades have seen extensive reform of policy on homelessness in Ireland, but these changes have not been underpinned by any extensive research which would shed light on the causes of homelessness and help in the design of settlement services. This article, which describes the results of the first detailed survey of the homeless population of Cork city, is intended to address the dearth of empirical evidence on homelessness in Ireland. This information is presented in three parts. The opening section of this article outlines the methods which were used to collect data on the homeless population in Cork. The findings of this research are outlined in the middle part of the article and where possible compared to the results of other equivalent research which has been carried out in other parts of Ireland and abroad. This section presents evidence on: the numbers of homeless people; their personal characteristics; a socio-economic profile of respondents, their housing history and accommodation preferences. Finally, in the concluding section of the paper, the implications which this research has for the explanations of the causes of homelessness which are most prominent in the international literature and for current policy on the settlement of homeless people in Ireland are outlined.

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