Latest Focus Ireland Figures Report 65 Families Became Newly Homeless in Dublin in September
Focus Ireland issued new figures today which report that 65 families became newly homeless in Dublin in September as the crisis continues to deepen. These latest figures mean that 736 families with 1389 children have become homeless in Dublin in the first 9 months of this year.
The charity issued its Sept report for Dublin as the Government also released its national figures today which show a record total of 6,709 people are now homeless nationwide. This means at a national level there are now 1173 families and 2426 children homeless.
Focus Ireland said that while it is supporting at least one family to move on from homelessness every day this year the reality is that inadequate prevention strategies means more than one other family becomes homeless that same day. Focus Ireland welcomed Government work on the issue but stressed that the crisis will only be ended when more action is taken to cut the constant number of families – and single people – becoming homeless every month.
Focus Ireland said more can – and must – be done to end the nightmare of homelessness for so many families and children.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “We need to stop the constant flow of families and single people becoming homeless. Our frontline staff have seen first-hand that the two key reasons families are becoming homeless is one, landlords are selling up and getting out of the business, and two, rising rents. Both these issues are within the power of the government to tackle and while they have taken some actions they have clearly not done enough, fast enough .” He added: “We have to remember that we are not just talking about figures and statistics here. We must always highlight the human face behind each figure. Behind every figure is a person…a family..a man, a woman, a child…each of them who are suffering the ongoing trauma of being homeless every day.”
Focus Ireland said the Government must ensure that the strategy for the private rented market – that is currently being drafted as one of the pillars of Rebuilding Ireland – has to include measures to help stablise rents in the short-term.
He said: “There must also be action to stop the number of landlords leaving the business. The only step taken on this issue in the Budget was the 5% increased relief for landlords which is unlikely to change the mind of the increasing number of landlords selling – which is one of the main reasons many people are becoming homeless as many of the landlords are being forced to sell up by banks and other financial institutions.
“Most of these houses were purchased using special ‘buy to let’ mortgages. Now that the investment has gone wrong it should not be the tenant who suffers. The government should use the opportunity of the legislation now before the Dail to ensure that where a bank is repossessing a property from a ‘buy to let’ loan they must honour the tenancy agreement and sell the property as a rental with the tenant in place. “
These figures follow on from the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness which aims to ensure by July next year hotels will only be used as emergency accommodation for families in limited circumstances. Focus Ireland said the continuing crisis highlights the scale of the challenge ahead for the Government if it is to reach this target.
Mr. Allen said: Although the Government’s Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness provides some direction on how we can deal with this crisis, there are real concerns that we have a broad framework rather than a detailed plan of action, particularly in relation to families. It is shocking to think that we now have a record number of more than 2,300 children living in emergency accommodation yet at present, the only real response to these families is the promise of better emergency accommodation in ‘rapid build housing.’
He added: “Focus Ireland is committed to working with the Government to tackle this crisis but we do not shy away from saying more can be done and more must be done now on this serious issue. We need clear targets and timelines for delivery of homes if we are to end the nightmare of homelessness for all the families and children around the country who are living through this trauma every single day.”
The charity said its new figures show that an average of 81 families have now become homeless each month so far in 2016 compared to 60 families per month last year. Focus Ireland said that while 65 families became newly homeless in Dublin in September the charity managed to support 49 families to secure a home during the month to allow these families to escape from homelessness.
Contact Michelle Moran – Mobile: 086 468 0442 or Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117