Abject failure by Government to tackle homelessness
Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik said the sharp increase in people living in homelessness in the month of December represents an abject failure by the Fine Gael Taoiseach to tackle the country’s most pressing crisis.
Deputy Bacik said an emergency focus is needed to combat yet another deplorable record set by the Minister for Housing and his Government.
Deputy Bacik said:
“This Government is all spin when it comes to housing. January was marked by multiple press conferences and headline grabbing figures with the Taoiseach at the centre. But the facts speak for themselves.
“A record 11,632 people were living in homelessness in December, 3,442 of whom were children. What a horrendous way to spend Christmas as a family – hoping Santa might bring you safe and secure housing.
“It is absolutely deplorable that homelessness is still breaking all records despite the eviction ban being put in place from the end of October. Labour called for an emergency plan to be put in place throughout local authorities to assess and secure additional housing for people living in homelessness. It appears the Government were too busy organising press conferences.
“There was an opportunity over the winter for some breathing room. The Minister must now commit to publishing each month for the remainder of the eviction ban figures from local authorities how many tenants in situ schemes have been completed, how many are currently being processed and outline reasons why they do not go ahead.
“We need to start treating this like a national emergency.
“The government’s half measures to control rents, to address the crisis in evictions or to provide sufficient levels of affordable housing have exacerbated these problems. We know that most people who enter homelessness come from the private rental market which is why government intervention is so desperately needed. We know from figures released by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) last year that people have nowhere to go if they are being evicted and they are overstaying which can pose other problems.
“It is shameful that the government is failing to resolve the greatest societal issue of our time. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have had seven years to turn this crisis around but they have squandered the opportunity to fix this housing crisis and things are going from bad to worse month on month.“