Charity has amassed over 10,000 #EndHomelessness signatures
Focus Ireland today presented its #EndHomelessness petition with over 10,200 signatures to three Government parties to set a target date for ending homelessness. Director Of Advocacy Mike Allen and Campaign Coordinator Louise Bayliss handed the petition to Senator Mary Seery Kearney (FG), Francis Noel Duffy TD (Green Party) and Senator Mary Fitzpatrick (FF) who are all members of the Housing Committee.
The #EndHomelessness campaign is urging the government to make a clear plan to end the ongoing crisis. In repeated elections, people have declared that they care deeply about housing and homelessness and the crisis is again in the spotlight with the Government launching their new housing legislation this week. The current ‘Programme for Government’ says many welcome things about reducing the crisis, but nowhere does it set out a vision of ending homelessness or a commitment to do so.
Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen explains why a commitment to #EndHomelessness is significant.
“Only a few countries have managed to come near to ending homelessness, but no country has achieved any significant reduction in homelessness without having a long-term vision of ending it. No nation has ever managed a significant reduction in homelessness without having a firm commitment to ending it. When there was a previous Government commitment to ending long-term homelessness by 2010, this led to the lowest ever level of homelessness in Ireland. That success was swept away by the economic crisis. We can do better this time.”
According to figures from the Department of Housing, there are 8,060 people homeless in Ireland and 2,166 of these are children. Focus Ireland believes that the Government must reclaim the vision of ending homelessness, otherwise the State will be abandoning these people to a very bleak future.
Mike Allen adds: “At this point, we are calling on the Government to confirm that it believes that homelessness can be ended, and it is prepared to make a commitment to do so. We believe this should re-instate the commitment to end homelessness and set out a process which will involve all the relevant voices – Government departments and agencies, homeless organisations, local authorities and opposition parties – to set an appropriate and realistic date and set up along with a series of milestones. The voices of people with lived experience of homelessness must be heard too.”
In a letter to Mike Allen in response to the campaign, Taoiseach Micheál Martin stated that making progress in housing and homelessness is a “key priority.”
“I wish to ensure you that we are intensely focused in making urgent progress in all of these areas”, Taoiseach Martin said.
While Focus Ireland welcomes An Taoiseach’s commitment the charity believes Ending Homeless is the ultimate sign of progress and a Government commitment is needed.
Additionally, The #EndHomelessness campaign has crucially secured cross-organizational support from Society of St. Vincent De Paul, One Family, Treoir, SPARK, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Women’s Aid and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice.
Meanwhile, Focus Ireland has this week handed their submission for the new housing strategy (‘Homes for All’) which they believe will help achieve the goal of ending homelessness.
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