Focus Ireland Advocacy Manager Roughan Mac Namara said: “The fact that some families had nowhere to sleep last night except in a gardai station is totally unacceptable and the responsibility for this lies with the failure of Government policy to adequately address the scale and urgency of the crisis.”

“Focus Ireland is working hard every day with Dublin Regional Homeless Executive  to support families and help them when they become homeless.  While last night was exceptional it was part of an escalating crisis for families that Focus Ireland has been warning the Government about for over two years.”

He added: “Many other voluntary organisations & charities are also working to help people but services are stretched to breaking point as there is a constant rise in the numbers becoming homeless every month.  We need more homes to end this crisis not more hotel rooms. Homelessness can be prevented and ended if the right decisions are taken.  There is much good work being done and we helped over 1,000 households to leave homelessness last year in partnership with the State.  However, the harsh reality is that 3 families have become homeless every day this year so far and this clearly shows the Government strategy to tackle and prevent homelessness is failing.”

 We need a number of key actions to cut the number of families becoming homeless.

–          Focus Ireland amendment. – Introduce measures to prevent buy-to-let landlord from evicting tenants in order to sell up or move in family members.  The Govt voted this down this amendment to the Planning & Development Bill in the Dail in Dec 2016 and FF abstained.  If it had been passed then it would have prevented well over 350 – and many individuals from becoming homeless since Dec 2016.  (Buy-to-let homes would have to be sold or repossessed with tenants in situ)  Focus Ireland drafted the amendment & it was put before the Dail by independents & Sinn Fein.

–          Specific family homelessness strategy including a commitment that no family will be left without shelter and a cast iron deadline that no family will be homeless for more than 6 months.

–          Vacant Properties: 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

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