Focus Ireland says the government budget has once again failed families who are homeless
Focus Ireland said the Government has once again failed families who are homeless as the Budget failed to deliver a meaningful package to stem the deepening homeless crisis.
The charity said it first warned of a pending family homelessness crisis three years ago in its Pre-budget submission when 150 families were homeless.
This has since shot up to over 730 families after no effective action was taken in the last three Budgets to prevent the situation spiralling out of control. Focus Ireland said it has consistently voiced its concern and called for action on the issue of homelessness in the last three Budgets.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “When Michael Noonan got up to announce the budget on budget day 2012, there were 150 homeless families. He did nothing.
“By budget day 2013 the number of families had doubled and again he did nothing. Now this year it has doubled yet again to more than 730 families – and 1500 children – who are homeless and it is shocking to see no real action on this issue in the Budget to prevent more families from losing their homes.”
He said: “The Minister and the Government has yet again done nothing and there is every reason to believe that the number of families who are homeless will have doubled yet again to over 1,500 families and up to 3,000 children by the time we reach Budget Day next year. These families who are not even homeless yet can be kept in their homes if the Minister delivered rent certainly, a rise in rent supplement and tax changes for residential landlords to ensure an increase in number of properties to rent.“
Mr. Allen added: “Focus Ireland said it had been hoping for measures which would help the charity to tackle the ever rising tide of new families and individuals becoming homeless. We had worried that decisions would be ‘too little-too-late’ – but we never expected that the Government would fail to take any significant measures to tackle homelessness. How a government looking at distributing the €1.5 billion benefits from a growing economy could conspire to allocate nothing additional to tackling the growing causes of family homelessness is beyond understanding.”
The implications of this failure to take action will play out over the coming months, as we move towards Christmas and then the election. It will mean more people homeless on the streets or in emergency accommodation and the number of families in emergency homeless accommodation at this rate will be approaching 1,000 by the time of the Election next year.”
Focus Ireland said that €17 million increase in the homeless budget will essentially pay for the cost of increased need for emergency accommodation which is due to the failure to act to cut the rising numbers of families and individuals becoming homeless. The charity said that while this increase in the budget is required it does nothing to address the root causes of homelessness and to help keep people in their homes.
Media Contact: Roughan Mac Namara: Ph: 086 85 15 117