Focus Ireland Says Govt Must Act Now To Bring In The So-Called Focus Ireland Amendment As The Number Homeless Rockets Yet Again

Focus Ireland said that the new record total of 8,857 (Nov 2017) people homeless in Ireland show the Government strategy is failing to tackle the deepening crisis.

These latest figures mean that the total number of people homeless has now shot up by more than a staggering 350 people in a single month since October.

It is the highest number of homeless adults , the highest number of homeless families and the highest number of homeless children in the history of the State.

Focus Ireland Director Of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “These latest dreadful figures clearly show that the Government Rebuilding Ireland strategy is failing to get to grips with the escalating crisis. We are in the middle of the worst crisis in living memory as nearly 9,000 people are homeless nationwide – more than one in every three of these people is a child.   This must act as a line in the sand for the Government.  The time has now come for the Government to take the decisions it has shied away from for several years. This includes actively building social housing, taxing those who hoard building land and protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction.”

Focus Ireland has yet again repeated its call for the Government to bring in a specific strategy to address family homelessness with “a cast-iron time frame that no family will be allowed to remain as homeless for longer than six months”.  The housing charity criticised the Government for voting down the so-called Focus Ireland anti-homelessness amendment late last year which called for an end to evictions of tenants in buy-to-let properties that were being sold or repossessed.

Focus Ireland said if this ammendment had been passed this time last year it would have prevented at least 250 families and over 500 children from becoming homeless this year.  The charity said the Government must stop trying to spin its way out of this crisis and take the action that it has the power to do in the morning and bring in this anti homelessness ammendment.  The charity said the Governments excuse that it must balance tenants rights with property rights holds no water as how can it be balancing rights when a family or individual paying their rent every week – with a tenancy – can be forced out on the street if the property is being sold or repossessed.

Mr. Allen added: “We’re never going to tackle this problem if we don’t reduce the flow of people coming into homelessness. There is a failure to understand how critical that obvious point is that you need to cut the numbers coming in and not just look at the emergency measures when they’re homeless. This is a question of ideology. It’s putting property rights ahead of the rights of tenants.”

He added: “I would still always highlight that here is much good work being done by the State, Local authorities and NGO’s such as Focus Ireland and without this the current crisis would be so much worse.  But more needs to be done to keep people in their homes and prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place.  The Government needs to move from managing rising homelessness towards ending it and must take the decisions required to do this.”

For Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117 or Alan Neary at 086 468 0442

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