Local authorities must be able to protect people against homelessness

Ivana Bacik TD
31 May 2022
  • Renters’ need greater security of tenure
  • HAP scheme must be revised
  • No child should be at risk of homelessness

With shameful homeless figures published this week, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said local authorities must be given powers to protect people from entering homelessness. With 10,049 people without homes in this country, almost 3,000 of whom are children, Deputy Bacik said more must be done to tackle the housing crisis.

Deputy Bacik said:

“The figures published by the Department this week are shameful. The housing crisis is a national shame and we are all too aware of the cost of renting and buying in Dublin and throughout the country. Despite a temporary eviction ban, and Government promises to build back better, we have returned to the sorry state we were in before the pandemic.

“Labour has consistently tried to offer solutions to help those most at risk. I have highlighted the tangible impact that Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill would have for those at risk of eviction by providing renters with greater security that they can stay in their homes.

“No child should be at risk of homelessness, yet we know that there are 3,000 children recorded in the homeless figures from April. Labour’s Homeless Families Bill would require housing authorities to regard the best interests of the child as paramount, including by providing them with safe accommodation. That would make a real and measurable difference to many worried families.

“It’s clear that the HAP scheme, designed to protect families from entering homelessness, is no longer working. The scheme has not been updated since 2017, yet rents have soared in the last five years. Wages have not kept pace and the price of everyday essentials are spiralling. We need to do everything we can to keep a roof over people’s heads.

“Our housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has consistently called for greater powers for local authorities to tackle this issue on the ground. We need to see local authorities empowered to buy homes where families avail of the HAP scheme to ensure that they are protected from a potential sell up by the landlord.

“Change can’t wait. We need to do everything we can to protect people from falling into homelessness. Government needs to stop seeing housing as a commodity. The failure of government to put in place measures to protect renters are having enormous social consequences. We need to see action now.”

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