Focus Ireland Pre-Budget Submission Calls For Measures to Fast-Track Housing Delivery of Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan to Tackle Family Homeless Crisis

Focus Ireland launched its Pre-Budget Submission today (September 16th) which calls for funds to be made available to fast-track delivery of housing to help tackle the deepening family homeless crisis.

Focus Ireland made this call as figures from the charity report that 72 families became newly homeless in Dublin in August as the crisis deepens. These means that 671 families with 1257 children have become homeless in Dublin in just the first 8 months of this year – an average of 84 per month compared to just over 60 per month last year.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “Our Pre-Budget Submission outlines key measures which Michael Noonan can take to fast-track delivery of housing so we can really start to tackle this terrible crisis to ensure that families – and individuals – who were made homeless in the crisis are not trapped in emergency accommodation for years.”

The measures Focus Ireland is calling for include Budget 2017 adopting the Housing Finance Agency’s proposal that it becomes the main source of lending to Local Authorities so they can more quickly secure funding to build housing.  Mr. Allen explained: “The current funding process is too slow and complex due to the Government policy of ensuring all such investment is “off the Government books”. This must change in Budget 2017 otherwise we are failing these families and children who are homeless. For years now we have been stuck in the deeply frustrating maze in which the Government keep insisting that money is no problem yet the Local Authorities tell us the systems are too complex for them to access the money to deliver homes which are urgently needed.”

Focus Ireland said that while its family team supports one family a day to move out of homelessness (in partnership with the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive and Local Authorities) it’s impossible to keep pace as up to 3 more families become homeless that very same day. During August, Focus Ireland supported a record 33 families to move out homelessness, while 72 new families became homeless in Dublin.

Focus Ireland’s submission also calls for an end to the system where many families who are recognised as homeless by local authorities are told they must find their own emergency accommodation. The charity said the current system is not fit for purpose and has led to the situation where a number of children and their families are put at risk of sleeping rough as they can’t find emergency accommodation.

Another key recommendation of the submission is for Michael Noonan to make the money available to provide much needed help to the over 2,000 children and their families living in hotel rooms and B&Bs which was promised in the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness. The promised help includes much needed assistance such as School Bus Passes, support workers for children who have been negatively affected by being homeless, and access to Early Years Education.

Mr. Allen said: “These promises were made within 80 days of the Government coming to office, but perhaps most people don’t realise they haven’t happened yet. These families are already suffering greatly as they are stuck in homeless accommodation with no idea when they will get a home. Not having the money to get across town to school and not being able to find support with children upset by their experiences put further cruel burdens on these parents. This needs to change in the coming Budget with the funding put in place to deliver on these promises to help some of the most vulnerable children in our communities.”

View the full submission here

Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara: 086 85 15 117

+ Click to view more