Government cannot be distracted by RTÉ in tackling homelessness
With news that there are now 12,441 people living in homelessness, an increase of 182 people in a month, Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik as urged Government to consider emergency measures to protect vulnerable renters.
Deputy Bacik said:
“There has been an explosion in homelessness since Leo Varadkar resumed his role as Taoiseach. Despite plenty of handwringing and press conferences, the stark reality is people are being failed by the State.
“This time last year in the May 2022 report, 7,297 people were living in homelessness. Having one person living in homelessness is one too many, but to see a 70% increase year-on-year under this administration just highlights the lack of focus on the crisis.
“It is appalling that 3,699 children are living in homelessness. The uncertainty, stress and lack of freedom placed on these children as a result will no doubt have significant long-term consequences. That’s why Labour, supported by Focus Ireland, have urged government to progress our Homeless Families Bill to ensure that children are prioritised and protected from entering homelessness.
“The Government have utterly failed in their efforts to tackle homelessness. The temporary no-fault eviction ban was recklessly lifted without any contingency plans in place, and many renters are now living at the will of a benign landlord, hoping that they can stay in their tenancy.
“Hope is not a strategy, particularly when we consider the depth of the homelessness crisis. This needless suffering is impacting upon people and families nationwide, but it is also having a detrimental effect on attracting investment into Ireland.
“Labour’s Renters’ Rights Bill seeks to address the issues of uncertainty and affordability, at no cost to the Exchequer, yet Government have failed to implement any of our positive measures – measures like ending so-called ‘no fault’ evictions or implementing a transparency register to provide real-time information on the rental market.
“We are all too familiar with the trojan work of volunteers, NGOs and charities to help those struggling with homelessness, but Government cannot continue to abdicate its responsibility. For too long, the State has relied on the generosity of others to pick up the pieces.
“Housing is a human right. We need action to tackle this crisis of our time. People must have the resources and support they need to secure a safe, affordable place they can call home.”