New Record Figures Must Be A Line In the Sand In The Battle Towards Ending Crisis As Numbers Homeless Rocket 25% In Last Year

Focus Ireland said today that the new record total of 8,160 (July 2017) people homeless in Ireland issued by the Government today on the eve of Minister Murphy’s ‘summit’ must be a line in the sand in the battle towards ending the crisis.

These latest figures mean that the total number of people homeless has now shot up by a staggering 25% since July 2016. It is the highest number of homeless adults (up 41), the highest number of homeless families (up 64) and the highest number of homeless children (up 78) in the history of the State.

Focus Ireland Advocacy Director Mike Allen said: “These latest dreadful figures clearly show that the Government Rebuilding Ireland strategy is failing to get to grips with the escalating crisis. We are in the middle of the worst crisis in living memory as over 8,000 people are homeless nationwide – more than one in every three of these people is a child.”

“This must act as a line in the sand for the Government, is a stark reminder of the challenge that the Minister’s ‘Summit’ must address tomorrow. The time has now come for the Government to take the decisions it has shied away from for several years. This includes actively building social housing, taxing those who hoard building land and protecting the rights of tenants facing eviction.”

Focus Ireland has stressed the need to address family homelessness in the Rebuilding Ireland review with “a cast-iron time frame that no family will be allowed to remain as homeless for longer than six months”. The housing charity criticised the Government for voting down the so-called Focus Ireland anti-homelessness amendment late last year which called for an end to evictions of tenants in buy-to-let properties that were being sold or repossessed.

Mr. Allen added: “We’re never going to tackle this problem if we don’t reduce the flow of people coming into homelessness. There is a failure to understand how critical that obvious point is that you need to cut the numbers coming in and not just look at the emergency measures when they’re homeless. This is a question of ideology. It’s putting property rights ahead of the rights of tenants.”

He said: “I would highlight that here is much good work being done by the State, Local authorities and NGO’s such as Focus Ireland and without this the current crisis would be so much worse. But more needs to be done to keep people in their homes and prevent them from becoming homeless in the first place. The Government needs to move from managing rising homelessness towards ending it and must take the decisions required to do this.” Focus Ireland said there must also be firm action taken in the coming Budget – which is on World Homelessness Day on Oct 10th – to fast-track delivery of social housing and also more steps to increase prevention for families and people at risk of losing their homes.

The latest breakdown of figures on homelessness can always be found here.

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