Scandal of homeless expectant & new mothers must be addressed
Following the report on Morning Ireland on the number of expectant and new mothers living in emergency accommodation with their children, Labour spokesperson of Housing Jan O’Sullivan has said that the scandal must be urgently addressed, and added that Labour’s Housing (Homeless Families) legislation should be implemented as a priority.
Deputy O’Sullivan said:
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it was heartbreaking to hear the stories this morning on Morning Ireland about the experience of new and expectant mothers in emergency homeless accommodation.
“The significant rise in the number of pregnant women accessing homeless hostels is really shocking, with 27 pregnant women in De Paul’s accommodation in 2017 and 9 already to date in 2018.
“Ensuring that new born babies and their mothers have a home to call their own should be our number one priority.
“The Labour Party’s Homeless Families Bill that passed second stage in the Dáil in November would require Local 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.
“Under the current Housing Acts, children have no individual rights in the context of homelessness- the needs of one or both parents may be assessed, but there is no legislation to make sure homeless families have rights as a family unit.
“Prioritising new families, and ensuring that mothers and their children don’t have to rely on emergency accommodation should be urgently resolved by the government.”