Any rise in the number of children homeless is unacceptable
Commenting on the July homeless figures, Labour Party Housing spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said the fact that 3,867 children are now homeless is unacceptable.
Deputy O’Sullivan said:
“This week thousands of children will be going back to school and writing stories of how they spent their summer holidays, for 3,867 children this will be a very bleak exercise as they will have spent their summer break in emergency accommodation. If you are one of the 3,867 children in homeless services you will think back to how you have spent your summer in often unstable accommodation, you haven’t neighbouring children to play with, you are probably sharing one or two rooms with the rest of your family, with no room to play, nowhere to go out and kick a ball or ride a bike.
“Many parents hope that they can bring their children to a hotel for a summer break either at home or abroad, not as a place to live. Rebuilding Ireland promised to end the use of hotels for families to live in, except for short-term emergencies. Two years later, that promise is still unfulfilled.
“I introduced the Housing (Homeless Families) Bill to the Dáil in July of last year and it passed 2nd stage with full support. It responds to the Rights of the Child that were inserted into the Constitution by the people in 2012 by imposing a legal obligation on housing authorities to act in the best interest of the child when his or her family becomes homeless.
“Each month when we get the dreaded homeless figures, I have been asking the Government and the Committee to make the time to progress that Bill. If the Government truly grasped the realities of the problems in the housing sector, then they would make this Bill a priority.
“The Government and Local Authorities have been moving at a snail’s pace when it comes to bringing back the over 100,000 vacant properties across the country back into a liveable condition. Instead of going on the national airwaves and speaking empty rhetoric about his policies which have seen the housing crisis get worse, the Minister for Housing should be aggressively pursuing this issue.
“These families and the children affected are in truly precarious situations, filled with anxiety about the future that no child should have to endure. The State is responsible for addressing this and the Minister must respond with emergency measures.”