The charity said what while there is welcome progress in some areas; the Government is still failing to do enough to ease the crisis. The latest figures from the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government reveal that 3,824 of the total number homeless are children (in 1,754 families).
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said:“ We must never allow the constantly rising number of people becoming homeless each month to become the norm and there is a real risk that this is starting to happen. Only 3 years ago in June 2015 there were 1,318 children homeless. This was seen as shocking at the time but the total has now trebled in only 3 years to a shameful 3,824. The number of families homeless has shot up by 170% in the same period from 650 in June 2015 to 1,754 in June 2018. In the last month 92 families in Dublin became newly homeless, this is the highest June figure ever recorded.”
He added: “Even though we are in the middle of the worst crisis in living memory we must not lose sight of the fact there is much good work being done. Focus Ireland – in partnership with the State – helped over 1,060 households to secure a home and move on last year. This shows homelessness can be solved, but with the numbers becoming homeless increasing every month we are having to run to even stand still in terms of the crisis. This is wrong, unsustainable and much more needs to be done.”
Focus Ireland is calling on the is calling on the Government to take action on the following three fronts as we all must do more to work towards cutting the number of people becoming homeless every month while helping more families and individuals to secure a home and move on from homelessness every month.
- To significantly increase the amount of housing which is being built by Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies. This will involve using the publicly owned landbanks available which are sufficient to build 30,000 homes in the place where they are needed.
- Introduce measures to prevent buy-to-let landlord from evicting tenants in order to sell up or move in family members
- Revisit proposals to make the thousands of vacant properties around the country available. It is clear that the current set of incentives has failed to open up this essential resource, and the Government must now move to penalise people who are leaving homes vacant for no good reason
Mr. Dennigan concluded: “While the fall in the number of people on the social housing waiting list is good news, one of the main drivers of this fall has been the fact that people who take up HAP are no longer counted on the waiting list – unlike in the case of Rent Supplement which it replaces. If the department published the numbers on the HAP Transfer list, it would help get a better view of the progress that is being made and would be in line with Government commitments to make HAP more transparent and attractive.”
The latest figures can always be found here.