11th September 2022
Focus Ireland Prebudget Submission Calls for Urgent Action to Prioritise Homeless Households for Social Housing as Homelessness Hits Record High
Focus Ireland issued its Pre-Budget Submission today which calls for urgent action to restore priority for homeless households in allocating social housing as homeless numbers have hit a record high.
The charity has also called for a twin-track approach in Budget 2023 to increase social & affordable housing while stepping up prevention measures to halt the rising tide of homelessness.
The charity made its calls in advance of the forthcoming Budget as the latest figures show a record total of 10,568 people homeless as the nation also face
d a cost-of-living crisis. There has been a sharp rise in the number of landlords selling their properties and exiting the rental market, adding further pressures to accommodation shortages.
Focus Ireland had already submitted its budget proposals to all relevant Government Ministers and their departments in recent months. The public document issued today concisely outlines 15 recommendations to address homelessness efficiently and effectively.
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said: “The latest record figures clearly show the homeless crisis must be at the top of the Government’s agenda. Rising homelessness is not inevitable, and there are actions that could be taken immediately to curb the rising numbers of people becoming homeless every month which are outlined in our pre-budget submission. It is a sobering reality that people are having to choose between paying rent or energy bills and the government needs to address homelessness as part of its efforts to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.”
The measures Focus Ireland is calling for Budget 2023 to include:
- Restore priority for homeless households in allocating social housing.
- Increase the supply of social and affordable housing for individuals with complex support needs.
- Prioritise households in emergency accommodation for over a year for intensive case management to facilitate exits out of homelessness.
- Incentives for small landlords to remain in the rental market to avoid evictions-to-sell.
- Measures to effectively tackle vacancy and dereliction to improve housing supply.
- Ensure that all Local Authorities consider Housing First for Youth as part of implementing the Youth Homelessness Strategy.
Mr. Dennigan adds: “Another one of the 15 recommendations in our submission is a call to extend homeless HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) and streamline timelines across local authorities to simplify the process for vulnerable recipients. Everyday Focus Ireland services are seeing more people who are having trouble making ends meet and are consequently in danger of losing their homes. Most of these individuals already get a HAP payment, which is meant to cover their housing needs but is blatantly failing to do so.”
”They can receive some assistance from our competent front-line workers, but we are constantly up against ineffective policies. Affordable housing is essential for decreasing poverty in addition to further HAP measures as many households in Ireland are now in danger of poverty and at an increased risk of homelessness due to high housing costs.”
The Focus Ireland Prebudget Submission can be read at this link https://bit.ly/3AS2iIU
Media – Roughan Mac Namara – 086 8515 117