Over 10,000 Homeless – FG Housing Policy has failed

27 March 2019

Labour Housing Spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan TD, has expressed continued frustration at the record level of homelessness with over 10,000 people without a home, and the number of children homeless increasing by a further 160, calling for emergency legislation to halt evictions and cap rents.

Speaking today Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“These figures are just another reminder of how unfit for purpose Rebuilding Ireland has become. A further 160 children without a home is unacceptable and it is closing in on 4,000 children.

The Government can push through emergency laws on fishing in a week but can’t take the time to tackle this national crisis.

“The last two months have shown that the Government is not on top of this, and the problem is getting worse. There appears to be no end in sight, and three years into this government the volume of social housing that is needed has not been delivered, nor is there any sign of it coming.  

“What the Labour Party has consistently called for is a cap on rents, and action to restrict the grounds for eviction. I fail to understand why Fine Gael is refusing to act on this.

“The most effective action the Minister can take to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place and the most effective way to do that is to stop eviction notices and rent hikes in the private sector. We know that most of the people who become homeless have been renting in the private market.

“The Minister will next week publish new protections but unfortunately it is too little too late and will be some time becoming law. On behalf of the Labour Party, I have repeatedly called for the loopholes to be closed that are allowing landlords to end tenancies for spurious reasons like refurbishment, sale, a family member moving in etc….very frequently this never happens and, in the case of sale, there should be no requirement for vacant possession and this should be banned in law.

“Rent pressure zone limits are also being breached and a rent register that would allow a new tenant to know what the previous rent was is urgently needed as well as extending rent control to the whole country as homelessness grows outside of Dublin. Minister Murphy has promised the delivery of the rent register on numerous occasions but it has yet to be delivered.

“I am calling on Minister Murphy to take these measures now to stop the horror of homelessness that so many families and individuals dread. This is an emergency and requires emergency action.

“The Government must ramp up the construction of social and affordable homes on publically owned lands. Labour has committed to spending €16 billion over five years which would deliver 80,000 homes.”

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