Homeless Families Bill crucial to protect children
Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik has demanded Government action on child homelessness.
Questioning the Taoiseach in the Dáil today, Deputy Bacik said:
“In 2017, Jan O’Sullivan published a bill to ensure that families at risk of homelessness are protected by the State, the Housing (Homeless Families) Bill. This would require local authorities to recognise the child’s interests as paramount – this would ensure greater protection for the rights of a child in a family unit when applying for accommodation or other assistance.
“We need to see a move made on this to ensure that every child in Ireland has a roof over their head.
“Since Labour introduced this Bill, child homelessness has increased shamefully under Fine Gael and supported by Fianna Fáil. Rather than tackling homelessness and preventing families from entering emergency accommodation, Government instead seems to have accepted the dystopian reality of children sleeping in hotel rooms and hostels.
“The choices that government makes, or chooses not to make, is having a huge impact on the lives of real people. The failure of government to put in place measures to protect children are having enormous social consequences. We need to see action now.
“Finding solutions should be the priority of this Government, but instead, we hear weasel words of sympathy which are never backed up by change.”
Raising the plight of Micheline Walsh and her husband, Deputy Bacik said:
“We are facing a ticking time bomb when it comes to the rental crisis. The State has utterly failed older people like Micheline as we continue to hear of thousands of renters facing homelessness since the lifting of the eviction ban – with pensioners now represented among the 12,000 persons in emergency accommodation.
“With more and more people renting now than ever before, it’s likely that cases like Micheline’s will become more common than not. It’s a categoric failure of Government to tackle housing.
“The solutions this government has to offer on homelessness are simply not adequate.”