Focus Ireland statement on Government’s Living With Covid Plan- Public health response must take account of the housing and homelessness crisis

Focus Ireland said today that it welcomes the Government’s new Living With Covid plan as it aims to provide as much certainty as possible as the nation responds to the ongoing public health emergency in the coming months.

However, the charity said it is deeply disappointed at the plan’s failure to recognise that the Covid-19 crisis is happening during a housing and homelessness crisis.

Focus Ireland Advocacy Director Mike Allen said: “The plan provides no clarity around protections for people who are homeless or facing evictions if the threat from the virus increases again. While travel restrictions will be reintroduced at level 3 of the Government’s plan, there is no corresponding clarity on protective measures for people at risk of losing their home. At level 5, the public health direction is to ‘stay at home’, but even at this highest level of alarm, there is no return to the eviction embargo which was such a central part of our success in keeping people safe during the first phase of the pandemic. The lessons from the successes of that period do not seem to have been learned.”

He added: “The aim of this plan was to provide clarity over the next six months, but no such clarity has been given for those impacted by the housing and homeless crisis. Almost 9,000 people who are living in emergency accommodation and many thousands more experiencing housing scarcity, overcrowding or eviction — including families with school-age children — will search this plan in vain for any protections for them. Our public health response must acknowledge and take account of the housing and homelessness crisis.”

Contact:  Roughan Mac Namara 086 85 15 117

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