IHREC report highlights need to pass Labour Homeless Families Bill- O’Sullivan

12 July 2017

Labour spokesperson on Children, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said a report by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) highlights the importance of passing Labour legislation recognising the rights of homeless children in an emergency accommodation situation.

The IHREC has raised a number of concerns regarding families and children in long-term homelessness, saying more action is needed to tackle the issue.

It comes a day after Labour introduced its Housing (Homeless Families) Bill 2017 into the Dáil, which would require Housing Authorities to recognise the rights of a child in a family unit when applying for accommodation or other assistance, which are currently not explicitly recognised under the Housing Acts.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“Today’s report by the IHREC chief commissioner and former Children’s’ Ombudsman Emily Logan underlines just how important it is that the Labour Party’s Homeless Families Bill is passed by the Oireachtas.

“Our Bill actually addresses many of the concerns raised by the Commission, including the need to recognise the needs of children within the family unit. We strongly support this rights based approach.

“Just yesterday for example, a study by Trinity College showed that 42% of homeless adults are women, many of whom have dependent children and are lone-parent households. It is clear from the research that there aren’t enough services to cater for the needs of those families.

“This underlines all the more the need for specific protection for the children, as well as for their mothers.

“Homeless charities, including Focus Ireland, have told us that it is important that the law is strengthened to support families in crisis situations.

“Our Bill would also ensure that there is a holistic response to support the needs of families in hotels and hubs with, not just a roof over their heads, but with the wider requirement to support and encourage the effective functioning of families and the development, welfare and protection of children within the family home.”

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