Ireland’s Relentless Homeless Rates Continue To Soar To Record Highs

0
467
Homelessness

A record number of people are in homeless accommodation in Ireland. It stands at 10,568 people who are now living in hotels and B&Bs.

The previous peak was in October 2019, however with the Covid-19 pandemic extra supports and beds were put in place to ensure people were taken out of emergency accommodation.

The number of children growing up in hotels and B&Bs has increased by 2% in the past month – it now stands at 3,137, which is the highest number of children in the situation since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The total from the Department of Housing does not include rough sleepers, women in refuge centres, those in Direct Provision or Ukrainian refugees.

Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “We all remember that we had record highs before back in 2019 yet we managed then to achieve a 20% reduction in the number. We now need to repeat this and go further again by redoubling our efforts and introducing measures that will allow the numbers to fall.

As part of the cold weather strategy for this winter we need to take the step of re-introducing moratorium on evictions as it can help stem the flow of people into homelessness. It will also allow the thousands of social housing units under construction to come to fruition and allow some of these to be used to help people exit homelessness.”

We also need to see the immediate reintroduction of national programme of long-term leasing until such time as the homeless numbers go below 8,000. Long Term Leasing is more secure and cost effective than HAP and obviously much cheaper and better than paying for emergency accommodation.”

Finally, when local authorities are making allocations to new social housing stock they need to increase the percentage of homeless allocations to these schemes.”

Labour party housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has said that new record levels of homelessness clearly demonstrate that the Government’s Housing for All plan is rapidly failing fast.

Senator Moynihan said the government must act with urgency or risk this shameful record spiralling even further out of control:

We need to do everything we can to protect people from falling into homelessness in the first place. Government must get real and stop seeing housing as a commodity. Housing is a human right. The failure of the government to put in place measures to protect renters is having enormous social consequences across the generations and we have to say enough is enough.

There is a whole suite of measures available to the government if they would listen. A good start is the introduction of an immediate ban on evictions to stop people entering homelessness from the private market, tighter grounds for evictions, a temporary rent freeze and for tenants to be given the same rights as businesses. It is not rocket science.

Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill will give renters greater security and Labour’s Homeless Families Bill will require housing authorities to regard the best interests of the child as paramount. These measures would make a real and measurable difference to many worried families and we are calling on the Government to legislate for them before it is too late.”