Focus Ireland is concerned that the family homelessness crisis will deepen as the eviction ban ends.
Focus Ireland launched a new #FocusOnFamilies campaign today which is calling for the Government to develop a specific strategy to tackle family homelessness. The charity is now asking people to contact their local TDs on the issue through its campaign page http://bit.ly/Focusonfamilies
( And here is a 90 second video on the campaign http://bit.ly/FocusonfamiliesVideo (All media has permission to use this video content)
There are currently over 900 families with more than 2200 children in emergency homeless accommodation. There has been a welcome significant drop in the numbers of families homeless in the past year during the pandemic. Focus Ireland has made a key contribution to this, working with local authorities to help a record number of families who were homeless to secure a home. However, the number of families is now still more than four times the level it was in 2014, when the then Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan declared it an ‘emergency crisis.’
Focus Ireland said that the temporary Covid-19 eviction ban has acted to reduce the constant flow of families becoming homeless every month. However, the Government has now decided not to continue the ban and the charity said fears it will see a rapid rise in the number of families losing their homes due to a new round of evictions.
Recent figures from the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) show 870 notices of termination issued in the last 6 months, with half of them involving the landlord evicting the tenant to sell the property. Many of these notices will turn into evictions in the coming weeks.
Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy in Focus Ireland said: “Effective support needs to be tailored to people’s real needs. Focus Ireland is committed to ending all forms of homeless and over 35 years of experience has shown us that homeless families have different needs to single people – they need child support workers, supports with schooling, childcare, nutrition, homes with bedrooms and links to their community. He added: “All homelessness is wrong, but it is particularly bad for families – it damages the relationship between parents and undermines them in front of their children, causes trauma, contributes to malnutrition and can cause lifelong damage to children.”
Focus Ireland has made a significant submission to the Government outlining a wide range of key actions it believes should be included in a new family homelessness strategy. You can read this submission at https://bit.ly/3bzW44M
Mr. Allen concluded: “There was only a brief reference to family homelessness in Rebuilding Ireland and it was almost totally ignored in the Programme for Government. Recent comments by Government ministers suggest that the recent fall in family homelessness is leading to complacency and there is a real fear that the new strategy ‘Housing For All’ will fail to adequately address the issue. We are asking our supporters across the country to give the Government a wake-up call. Family homelessness remains at totally unacceptable levels and we must make sure that the Government’s new ‘Housing for All’ strategy, due to be published this summer, at last genuinely recognises the unique needs of families who are homeless and their children – and includes real measures to address them.”
Focus Ireland’s submission titled “Towards A Family Homelessness Strategy” outlines a wide range of actions required and stresses that the new Govt plan must:
(i) Help prevent families from becoming homeless.
(ii) Provide intense support for families to exit homelessness and guarantee that no family will spend more than six months in emergency accommodation.
(iii) Ensure every child in a family that is homeless has access to a child support worker.
Media contact: Roughan Mac Namara – 086 85 15 117 or Conor Culkin – 086 468 04 42
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