NGOs and Charities should not be picking up pieces after Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil housing failure
- Budget surplus must be funnelled from rainy-day fund into measures for sheltering vulnerable renters from the housing hurricane
Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has said the figures published by Threshold today provide a stark insight into the serious failures of housing policy under Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.
Noting that Threshold prevented over 1,000 children from entering homelessness in the first three months of 2023, Deputy Bacik said that Government must progress Labour’s Homeless Families Bill to ensure the rights of children to a home are upheld.
Deputy Bacik said:
“The horrors experienced by those living in housing insecurity as exposed by Threshold today are deeply shocking. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil’s treatment of vulnerable renters has been appalling. My office is flooded with harrowing correspondences from households who simply have nowhere to go. Others, who have received notices to quit that they believe may be invalid, are often unaware of the recourse available to them.
“The shocking levels of invalid notices to quit really demands Government attention. As Threshold note, 75% of notices citing renovation as the reason for the eviction were deemed invalid.
“In making the indefensible decision to lift the temporary no-fault eviction ban prematurely, the Government utterly failed to put in place contingency plans for people who have received notices to quit. An information vacuum has been created and all renters, whether they have received a notice to quit or not, are now facing an insecure and uncertain future, afraid that the roof may be taken from over their heads.
“We need a ‘one stop shop’ to be introduced by the Department of Housing to triage the queries of these concerned renters. Labour wrote to Minister O’Brien in advance of the lifting of the ban some weeks ago, asking him how best we can help people at risk of eviction. Weeks have passed, but he has yet to reply. This is nothing short of outrageous for the thousands of renters who are sick with worry and have no place to go.
“Government cannot continue to sit on its hands and let NGOs and charities like Threshold, the Simon Community and others pick up the pieces from its gross failings.
“Homelessness figures are now exceeding 11,600. Emergency accommodation facilities are at capacity. As we approach the State Examinations period, we face the appalling vista that children may end up sleeping on the floor of garda stations. All of this is happening in the context of phenomenal budgetary surpluses.
“It makes no sense that Government are building up the rainy-day fund rather than building homes. Unfortunately for many renters, the storm has already arrived.
“In the immediate term, I would urge Government to progress Labour’s Homeless Families Bill to safeguard the rights of children in homeless services. The appalling reality of child homelessness continues to be laid bare by this disaster.
“Politics is about choices. Government cannot continue to outsource the basic human right of having a home to NGOs and charities. A society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable. We have to do better.”