Full eviction ban must be extended as homelessness figures continue to rise

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
27 November 2020
  • Rise of 81 with total of 8,739 people homeless, 2,642 children without a home in 1,117 families.
  • Evictions are the primary cause of homelessness.
  • Action also needed to address recent rise in deaths.

With the homeless figures for October recording an increase of 81 people including 59 children, Labour Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has called again for the full eviction ban to be extended into 2021 as this would address the primary cause of homelessness, and a plan is needed to tackle the shocking recent rise in deaths.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Despite the eviction ban being reinstated during Level 5 we’ve seen a further increase in the total number of homeless people in October. This is simply unacceptable. A further 22 adults are homeless, and the number of children without a home has increased by 59. Despite record funding the government’s policies aren’t working because the primary cause of homelessness is evictions and the Minister won’t act comprehensively.

“In Dublin alone, 858 families are without a home. That is 2,070 children. What the Minister for Housing must commit to is a full extension of the eviction ban throughout the Christmas period and into the new year. Labour believes that renters need certainty beyond January.

“In recent weeks as the weather grows colder we’ve also seen a shocking rise in deaths of homeless people yet we’ve seen no comprehensive action to tackle this.

“As we exit Level 5 the rules on evictions will be relaxed again. We know this would make a significant difference but the Fianna Fáil Minister has continued the failed approach of his Fine Gael predecessor.

“Month by month the homelessness figures are creeping up again. The Ministers proposal for an extension of a ban on evictions only for those in rental arrears is insufficient and will not protect vulnerable renters as evictions on other grounds such as sale of property or moving a family member in will still be permitted. We still don’t have clarity from Government as to whether this ban will just apply to people who have registered financial difficulties due to Covid.

“Most people who enter homelessness come from the private rental market. Landlords need to do their bit in the fight against this virus and let people stay in their homes until this pandemic ends.

“In July we tabled an amendment to the Residential Tenancies Bill which would give the Minister for Housing the powers to reinstate the ban on evictions for public health reasons if travel restrictions would have to be introduced. Given that the likelihood is that travel restrictions will only temporarily be eased, the Minister should retain the existing ban and ensure that people are not made homeless when they cannot travel.

“We don’t know what the trajectory of this virus will be with the likelihood that we may be facing further restrictions into next year. These restrictions disproportionately affect renters who badly need security.

“The Minister needs to ensure renters are adequately protected into next year. Given that travel restrictions will likely remain for some time next year, he should extend the full eviction ban indefinitely.”

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